A construction project launched last week near Estrella Parkway and Highway 85.
While it might be tempting to shrug this off as a relative drop in the bucket of all the Goodyear construction projects, this one is making a splash - as it provides for a wave of current and future construction projects.
Meet the new Goodyear Water Treatment Facility, with a $129-million price tag.
“It’s really the foundation of the future of this city,” said Javier Setovich, Goodyear’s Public Works director.
“We would not be able to grow without water,” added said Goodyear Vice Mayor Bill Stipp.
The project, scheduled to be operational in December 2021, will connect Goodyear to its Colorado River water allocation through the Salt River Project canal system.
Setovich said Goodyear residents use 8 to 11 million gallons of water per day. The current system has a capacity for 16 million gallons of water per day - which may not be enough for the city’s growth.
With a planned 8 million gallons of Colorado River water flowing daily to the new treatment facility, Goodyear will expand its water capacity by 50%.
The Salt River Project will pump Colorado River water to a Goodyear pumping station 6 miles east of Goodyear, in Avondale.
“We are building a transmission line from Avondale to pump the water to Goodyear,” said Setovich.
The treatment plant is being built at 4980 S. 157th Avenue. Not coincidentally, it is next to Goodyear’s wastewater facility.
Like many other cities, Goodyear reuses its wastewater.
“The water, in essence, gets recycled,” said Setovich. “It used to be called ‘reclaimed water,’ now it’s called ‘recycled water.’”
After wastewater is treated, it is pumped into the underground aquifer system. “Then we pump it out, treat it and make it potable,” Setovich said.
A combination of water recycling and conservation efforts by residents have been combined to an extent that ‘We’re using less water per capita than in the 1980s. We’re using dramatically less water,” Setovich said.
Even so, the dramatic population increase in Goodyear, combined with current and planned residential projects around the city, means one thing: More water needed.
“In the Estrella Mountain Ranch area we’re seeing a great amount of growth. And on the west side of Goodyear, we have several developments taking place that will be a source of demand on our system,” said Setovich.
The city’s population has more than quadrupled since 2000, when Goodyear had 19,000 residents. Goodyear population hit 68,000 in 2014, then grew to 82,835 according to U.S. Census estimates. New developments may push Goodyear close to 100,000 by the next official census.
One thing new and old residents have in common: They all need water.
With the new treatment facility, Goodyear government feels it is ready to grow like a well-watered garden.
“Having the infrastructure ready is very important and it allows us to continue to grow without concern. It gives us the ability to build the community we all want,” Stipp said.
The nine-figure treatment plant is funded by bonds, Setovich said.
“The design and construction of the facility is not impacting our rates,” he said.
Rates were increased on a five-year plan in 2016.
“We’re right in the middle of looking at (water) rates,” Setovich said. “We’re starting to estimate the cost of the operation of the facility.”
After the plan is built, he noted, contractor Jacobs Engineering will have its own employees operating the facility for three to five years.
While the new water treatment plant may not directly add to the 100 Public Works employees Setovich supervises, he is confident it will help the city bloom.
“Water is an economic development tool,” he said.