FORT HUACHUCA, Ariz. – Ground was broken Dec. 16 on a $7.2 million project to upgrade the installation’s wastewater treatment plant improving efficiency and securing water resources for the future.
“This wastewater treatment plant that we’re standing at here at Fort Huachuca was built in the 1950s, so it’s right about 70 years old. And though there have been some upgrades over the years, this is a substantial overhaul which is going to allow us to get after the efficiency and effectiveness of what a wastewater treatment plant should do in the 21st century,” said Garrison Commander, Col. Jarrod Moreland, in his remarks just prior to breaking ground on the project.
Moreland noted the wastewater treatment plant was originally designed to handle three times the volume of water and waste it currently handles today, however due to the fort’s water conservation efforts, the decreased volume has caused the plant to run less efficiently. Since 2016, Huachuca City’s wastewater is also processed here to increase efficiency.
The garrison’s physical scientist, Chris Higgins, described the wastewater treatment process as primarily a biological one comparing it to a septic system which needs water to keep everything flowing.
The plant’s upgrade will improve the quality of effluent water the fort uses for irrigation and puts back into the aquifer ensuring the installation has sustainable water resources for decades to come. This not only saves potable water for consumption purposes and while saving energy and banking water for future generations.
“The water that we drink, the water that we put back into the ground needs to be as good as we can make it and this effort are going to help us support that,” Moreland said in his remarks to the gathering.
He applauded the partnership with the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality, Los Angeles District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Huachuca City, and praised the work of the Directorate of Public Works team and Installation Management Command which secured the funding for the project.
“This is really a critical piece of infrastructure,” said David Van Dorpe, deputy district engineer at the Los Angeles District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. He told the audience the Corps of Engineers started working with our DPW a few years ago to develop a plan of action and a solution.
“As we like to say, our mission is your mission and we want to make you successful through our support on your mission,” Van Dorpe added.
KWR Construction, Inc. of Sierra Vista, Arizona, is the primary contractor to upgrade the wastewater plant. Their portion of the contract is valued at approximately $6.7 million. The remaining $500,000 will be split between Sulphur Springs Valley Electric Cooperative of Willcox, Arizona, and the Welch Companies of Tempe, Arizona.
Trenching work for the project will begin within the next few weeks and is expected to take about two to three years.
“This is a really big deal for the fort, the community, and a really great venture and part of our partnership with the Corps of Engineers and all the teammates who have a role in this,” Moreland said. “As we look at upgrading the infrastructure and all the things that are needed to support our Soldiers and our joint teammates while looking at the future fights we may face, upgrading our infrastructure is a big part of that.”
The modernization and improvement of the quality of reclaimed water aligns Fort Huachuca for the future and enables the Army to be an environmental steward of the land it defends.
(Editor's note: Additional photos available online at 2021-12-16 Wastewater Treatment Plant Ground Breaking | Flickr)
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Fort Huachuca is home to the U.S. Army Intelligence Center of Excellence, the U.S. Army Network Enterprise Technology Command (NETCOM)/9th Army Signal Command and more than 48 supported tenants representing a diverse, multiservice population. Our unique environment encompasses 946 square miles of restricted airspace and 2,500 square miles of protected electronic ranges, key components to the national defense mission.
Located in Cochise County, in southeast Arizona, about 15 miles north of the border with Mexico, Fort Huachuca is an Army installation with a rich frontier history. Established in 1877, the Fort was declared a national landmark in 1976.
We are the Army’s Home. Learn more at https://home.army.mil/huachuca/.