While most everyone prefers to "flush it and forget it," the Town of Queen Creek, the Town of Gilbert and the City of Mesa announced the opening of the Greenfield Water Reclamation Plant (GWRP) in April 2007. The three communities jointly own the plant, and the City of Mesa operates and maintains it for the three municipalities.
"This is a major infrastructure investment by the community," said Queen Creek Town Manager John Kross. "It ensures that our residents and businesses are served adequately to our anticipated build-out population."
Currently the plant can process a liquids capacity of 16 million gallons per day (MGD), with an eventual capacity of 52 MGD. Mesa's ultimate ownership is planned to be 24 MGD, with Gilbert owning 20 MGD and Queen Creek owning 8 MGD.
The plant features on-site treatment of biosolids. Two large egg-shaped digesters are part of a state-of-the-art solids handling facility. The current facility can handle 24 MGD of solids. The solids facility will eventually be able to handle 64 MGD and will process biosolids from Mesa’s Southeast Water Reclamation Plant, as well.
The plant produces reclaimed water with an A+ quality, as per the Arizona State Department of Environmental Quality. Mesa's portion of the reclaimed water will be sent to the Gila River Indian Community as part of a water exchange agreement. Gilbert's portion of the water is sent to a nearby recharge facility and/or used in the existing reclaimed water distribution facility. Gilbert will also take Queen Creek’s share temporarily, while the Town finalizes plans for use of its share of the reclaimed water.
The cost to construct the plant was approximately $148 million, and the expenses were shared by the three municipalities. In September 2004, Queen Creek voters approved the Town’s use of a $34 million loan from the Water Infrastructure Finance Authority (WIFA) to fund the Town’s share of construction costs. WIFA is a state agency that provides below market, low-interest loans to communities for water and sewer projects. The loan will be repaid with revenues from wastewater development fees that are paid with each new home constructed in the Town. Operation and maintenance of the system will be paid through collection of fees on customers’ monthly bills.