History

Aerial photo of Fountain Hills Sanitary District plant (Historic photo)

DESCRIPTION/FORMATION

The Fountain Hills Sanitary District is a governmental entity (special district) that is not affiliated with the Town of Fountain Hills. The Districtís sole purpose is to collect, treat, and dispose of wastewater and its by-products.

The Districtís boundaries include the Town of Fountain Hills (except the former State Trust Land annexed by the Town in 2006) and a very small portion of the City of Scottsdale. The area served is approximately 12,000 acres.

The District was formed on July 21, 1969 in accordance with Arizona Revised Statutes Title 36.

FINANCE

The District is empowered to tax and collect fees and has been authorized via elections on March 30, 1971 and June 12, 1973 to sell bonds totaling $20,910,000. The entire authorization was sold by 1995 and paid off by 2005.

GOVERNANCE

From its formation on July 21, 1969 until August 9, 1999, the District was governed by a three-person board. At that time, a resolution was passed by the Board of Directors in accordance with ARS Title 48 to increase from three members to five.

A listing of board members since the Districtís formation is shown in Table 1.

MANAGEMENT/OPERATION

The day to day operation of the District is conducted by the District Manager. In 1987, the operation was divided into three sections, Plant Operations, Collection System Operations, and Administration. Each section is managed by a Section Manager under the general direction of the District Manager.

A listing of District Managers since the time of formation is shown in Table 2.

FACILITIES

It was originally planned to locate the wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) adjacent to Ashbrook Wash along the Fountain Hills/Fort McDowell boundary. However, during the Maricopa County review process, Fort McDowell requested that the WWTP be located further west by at least a mile. A seven acre site was located west of the confluence of Ashbrook and Balboa Washes. The site did not extend all of the way to Saguaro Blvd. leaving approximately four acres between the plant site and Saguaro Blvd.

The first phase of the WWTP was not completed until 1974. The initial capacity was 0.3 million gallons per day (MGD). Homes were served by either individual or community septic tank and leach field systems until wastewater collection lines and pump stations were constructed to convey sewage to the WWTP for treatment.

In 1980, the District Board became concerned about not having enough land to expand the WWTP as well as what it was going to do with its growing amount of effluent. MCO Properties agreed to trade the District the four acres of land adjacent to Saguaro Blvd. for the rights to its effluent.

The Districtís WWTP was improved or expanded by projects in 1981-1982, 1982-1983, 1985-1986, 1988-1989, 1990-1991, 1996-1997, 2000-2001, and 2008-2009. These projects are described in Table 3.

The effluent or reclaimed water produced by the Districtís WWTP was and continues to be used to fill Fountain Lake. However, by the early 1980ís, reclaimed water production exceeded its use in the lake. Consequently, from fall through spring, vacant land on the south and west sides of the community were overseeded with desert grasses and the land was irrigated with the excess reclaimed water.

As the population increased, additional reclaimed water was produced and additional acreage had to be overseeded and irrigated with the excess effluent.

By 1993, land used for temporary turf irrigation was being removed from service and used to build houses. This led to problems with the Districtís effluent water balance. As a result, MCO and the District were required to enter into a Consent Judgment with the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality. MCO was required to construct storage lakes which are now a part of the FireRock Country Club Golf Course. These storage lakes were used to store excess effluent in the winter.

In 1995, MCO Properties and the District jointly funded a study to determine what options were available for disposing of excess reclaimed water. These options included, discharge to a wash, construction of dams to store additional excess reclaimed water, recharge or aquifer storage and recovery, or pipe it to another sewer entity.

In 1998, MCO Properties decided it wanted out of the effluent business. The District assumed ownership, operation, and maintenance of the system. However, the District found itself having to figure out what to do with its growing effluent excess. After examining the options, it was decided to construct an advanced water treatment facility (AWTF) to further treat the effluent before recharge and aquifer storage and recovery (ASR) wells which allowed the District to seasonally store water in the ground during the winter for use by the golf courses and parks in the summer when the reclaimed water demand exceeded the supply from the WWTP. These facilities began operation in February of 2001.

The AWTF was improved or expanded by projects in 2004-2005, 2009-2010 and 2012-2013.

2015 STATISTICS
Residential Connections 13,466
Commercial Connections 361
Miles of Sewer Line 220
Miles of Reclaimed Water Line 15
No. of Raw Wastewater Pump Stations 18
No. of Reclaimed Water Pump Stations 1
Capacity of WWTP 2.9 MGD
Wastewater Processed 1.85 MGD
Reclaimed Water Delivered for Irrigation 543,683,000 gallons
No. of Employees 42
TABLE 1
FOUNTAIN HILLS SANITARY DISTRICT
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
TERMS OF OFFICE
January 1, 1969 - December 31, 1973
January 1, 1969 - December 31, 1973
Bob Hendrix
Carol Hendrix
January 1, 1969 - December 31, 1975 Mary Louise Price
January 1, 1974 - December 31, 1977
January 1, 1974 - December 31, 1977
Bob Williams
Raymond Reed
January 1, 1976 - December 31, 1979 Doyle Bauserman
January 1, 1978 - December 31, 1981
January 1, 1978 - December 31, 1981
Bob Williams
Sy Seidner
January 1, 1980 - October 31, 1980
November 1, 1980 - December 31, 1983
Don Martin (did not serve full term)
Margaret Jeffrey (served remainder of term)
January 1, 1982 - March 31, 1984
April 1, 1984 - December 31, 1985
January 1, 1982 - December 31, 1985
Leo Cunningham (did not serve full term)
Clint Foreman (served remainder of term)
Cy Blasing
January 1, 1984 - December 31, 1987 Dr. Robinson
January 1, 1986 - May 31, 1987
June 1, 1987 - December 31, 1989
January 1, 1986 - December 31, 1989
Cliff Auble (did not serve full term)
Harry Thrasher (served remainder of term)
Greg Phillips
January 1, 1988 - December 31, 1991 Jim Tocnacci
January 1, 1990 - December 31, 1993
January 1, 1990 - December 31, 1993
M. Shawn Fleming
Bruce Hansen
January 1, 1992 - December 31, 1995 Dennis Regeski
January 1, 1994 - December 31, 1997
January 1, 1994 - December 31, 1997
M. Shawn Fleming
Bert Putterman
January 1, 1996 - December 31, 1999 Walter Franklin
January 1, 1998 - December 31, 2001
January 1, 1998 - December 31, 2001
Dennis Regeski
Bruce Hansen
August 9, 1999 - December 31, 2003
August 9, 1999 - December 31, 2003
January 1, 2000 - December 31, 2003
Bert Putterman
Bob Thomson
Wallace Nichols
March 9, 2002 - December 31, 2005
March 9, 2002 - December 31, 2005
Tom Reski
Jim Garvin
January 1, 2004 - December 31, 2007
January 1, 2004 - December 31, 2006
January 1, 2007 - December 31, 2007
January 1, 2004 - December 31, 2007
Bob Thomson
Bert Putterman Ė (did not serve full term)
Michael Howard (served remainder of term)
Bruce Hansen
January 1, 2006 - December 31, 2009
January 1, 2006 - December 31, 2006
January 1, 2007 - December 31, 2009
Tom Reski
Jim Garvin Ė (did not serve full term)
Glenn Panaro (served remainder of term)
January 1, 2008 - December 31, 2011
January 1, 2008 - December 31, 2011
January 1, 2008 - December 31, 2011
Bob Thomson (appointed)
Bruce Hansen (appointed)
Michael Howard (appointed)
January 1, 2010 - December 31, 2013
January 2, 2010 - December 31, 2013
Tom Reski (appointed)
Glenn Panaro (appointed)
January 1, 2012 - December 31, 2015
January 1, 2012 - December 31, 2015
January 1, 2012 - December 31, 2015
Bob Thomson (appointed)
Bruce Hansen (appointed)
Thom Besett
January 1, 2014 - December 31, 2017
January 1, 2014 - December 31, 2017
Tom Reski (appointed)
Glenn Panaro (Appointed-Resigned 9/30/2014)
(Position vacant 10/1/14-2/28/15)
March 1, 2015-December 31, 2017 Gregg Dudash (served remainder of term)
January 1, 2016 - December 31, 2019
January 1, 2016 - August 11, 2016
Bob Thomson (appointed)
Bruce Hansen (appointed)
(Position vacant 8/12/16-
January 1, 2016 - December 31, 2019 Thom Besett (appointed)
TABLE 2
SANITARY DISTRICT MANAGERS
1972 Charles Calder
1972-1977 Dan Devers
1977-1980 Fred Allgower
1980-1985 Pat Harvey
1985-1986 Rich Williamson
1986-Present Ron Huber
TABLE 3
PROJECTS

1981-1982

This project was supposed to expand the WWTP from .3 MGD to .75 MGD. The treatment process was modified from extended aeration to contact stabilization. Sludge beds were added. However, actual operation ultimately proved that the capacity was only increased to .6 MGD.

1982-1983

This project consisted of lining the on-site effluent pond with a PVC liner to prevent leakage.

1985-1986

This project was supposed to expand the WWTP from .6 MGD to 1.2 MGD. It consisted of a new influent pump station, new headworks, new secondary clarifier, new effluent filter, new filter pump station, new chemical feed facility, new chlorine contact basin, new effluent pump station and new sludge thickener. Shortly after the project was completed, problems were experienced with flows above .75 MGD.

1988-1989

This project provided a new, additional secondary clarifier which helped the District cope with the short comings of the 1985-1986 project until a new aeration process was designed and constructed.

1990-1991

This project is referred to as the WWTP Phase 1 Modifications Project. It consisted of two new aeration basins with biological nitrogen removal capabilities, carbon scrubbers for odor control and a new standby power facility. Capacity of the plant was based entirely on the Districtís ability to dispose of effluent which was 1.55 MGD.

1996-1997

This project is referred to as the Headworks Replacement and Sludge Processing Modifications Project. It consisted of a new influent pump station, new influent screen, new degritter, two new aerobic digesters, sludge thickening and dewatering facility, and both chemical and carbon scrubber for odor controls.

2000-2001

This project is referred to as the WWTP Phase 2 Modifications Project. It consisted of a second new secondary clarifier (the original two clarifiers were demolished), new tertiary cloth disk filters, new chlorine contact chamber, new effluent pump station, new chlorination facility and addition/replacement to the standby power facility. On completion of this project, plant capacity was increased to 2.6 MGD.

2008-2009

This project is referred to as the Flow Equalization Basin Expansion/Interim Digester Modifications Project. It consisted of a third secondary clarifier, new blowers for the secondary treatment and digester processes, new air piping and diffusers for the aerobic digesters, an addition to the flow equalization basin and a new storage building. On completion of this project, plant capacity was increased to 2.9 MGD.
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