It’s time to vote in the #ELGLKnope Sweet Sixteen! Read about this matchup, and then submit your vote! One vote per email address, please. We’ll tally the votes and will post the next round of matchups on Tuesday!
Sierra Vista Environmental Operations Park
Sierra Vista, Arizona 85635
- Three words to describe Sierra Vista Environmental Operations Park: Recharge
- Why are you nominating Sierra Vista Environmental Operations Park: There are wastewater treatment facilities, and then there’s the Sierra Vista Environmental Operations Park (EOP). The EOP has been recharging water into the aquifer below Sierra Vista since 2002. To date, more than 11 billion gallons of clean water have made it into the aquifer, which has helped support the San Pedro River, part of the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area. The impact of the EOP in supporting the base flows of the San Pedro River is well documented, and due to its success, the EOP has become a “proof of concept” model for other recharge facilities both locally and throughout the desert southwest. By simultaneously replenishing groundwater supplies and buffering the San Pedro River from groundwater withdrawals, the EOP is helping to create a sustainable future for the area, including the U.S. Army installation Fort Huachuca.
- Anything else to share? Here in the desert Southwest, water is life, money, and often the source of a lot of litigation. At over 4,700 feet above sea level in the southeast corner of Arizona, the City of Sierra Vista enjoys lower temperatures and more precipitation than lower-lying areas of Arizona, but water conservation is still a top priority. Add in the San Pedro River, which is the last free-flowing river in the Southwest, and the U.S. Army installation Fort Huachuca with its own environmental challenges, and water conservation then becomes necessary for our community’s survival and future growth potential.But the EOP doesn’t just treat wastewater and recharge billions of gallons into an aquifer, it also creates wetlands for many species, and even creates compost for fertilizer.After preliminary treatment, wastewater flows by gravity to anoxic and aeration basins. In the aeration basin, the water is mixed with air to provide the bacteria in the treatment process with oxygen. Ammonia nitrogen is converted to nitrate nitrogen and then converted to nitrogen gas in the anoxic basin. The denitrified water then flows to the clarifiers, which act as a settling tank. Here, solids settle to the bottom and the clear effluent flows to the wetlands.
The wetlands remove any remaining nitrogen, and serve as a habitat for many species of birds, mammals, and amphibious creatures. Many birdwatchers travel from all over the country to visit the 1,800 sq ft viewing platform, and guided bird walks are offered periodically throughout most of the year.
Biosolids removed from the treatment process are dewatered and delivered to the City’s composting facility next door to the EOP where it is mixed with green material. After treatment, the finished compost meets the U.S. EPA Class A Exceptional Quality standard under 40 CFR Part 503. This level of treatment imposes the strictest requirements for pathogen reduction and vector attraction reduction. By meeting this standard, the City of Sierra Vista is able to sell the Class A composted biosolids to farmers, park agencies, and the general public to use as fertilizer or as a soil amendment.
North Chicago Lakefront Water Plant
North Chicago, Illinois 60064
- Three words to describe North Chicago Lakefront Water Plant: Vital, Pure, Essential
- Why are you nominating North Chicago Lakefront Water Plant: The North Chicago Lakefront Water Plant provides several million gallons of water a day to residents and businesses – including industry bioscience and pharmaceutical leaders of Abbott and AbbVie. The highly focused research-driven biopharmaceutical company, AbbVie, uses our water in and for the production of life-saving medicines used throughout the world. In addition to two Fortune 100 pharmaceutical leaders, our water customers include a medical school, a bioscience incubation site, and numerous other bioscience corporations. The North Chicago Lakefront Water Plant also serves as the back-up water supply to the only US Naval training center in the world, Naval Station Great Lakes. The plant has been in service since 1929 but has gone through a complete renovation to use state-of-the-art technology to bring fresh and safe water to those who depend on it.
- Anything else to share? During the height of the COVID pandemic, the North Chicago Water Plant employees were prepared to quarantine on-site to ensure there was the manpower to keep providing North Chicago a supply of fresh water.