San Antonio, TX – The City of Douglas held a ribbon-cutting ceremony today to celebrate upgrades and increased treatment capacity at its wastewater treatment plant (WWTP). Douglas Mayor Robert Uribe was joined by North American Development Bank’s Chief Environmental Officer Salvador Lopez and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest John Busterud, as well as other local officials, during the event.
The expansion of the WWTP is part of a larger project that includes the extension of new wastewater collection infrastructure to provide first-time service to households in the Bay Acres colonia, currently under construction. The WWTP upgrades were partially funded with a US$7.6-million grant from the Border Environment Infrastructure Fund (BEIF), which is funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and administered by NADB.
Certified in 2016 by the NADB Board of Directors, the US$19.8-million Bay Acres Wastewater Collection System and Wastewater Treatment Plant Expansion Project will provide first-time access to wastewater services for residents in unserved areas, as well as adequate wastewater treatment capacity, contributing to the reduction of water pollution and the risk of waterborne diseases. Additional funding sources for the construction were secured through a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development (USDA-RD) and a loan from the Arizona Water Infrastructure Finance Authority (WIFA).
The expansion of the plant has increased treatment capacity to an average annual flow of 2.6 million gallons per day (mgd) to accept and treat flows from the expanded wastewater collection system and modest growth in the City of Douglas. The upgrades include two new oxidation ditches, a new secondary clarifier, and modifications to the existing surface aeration basins to convert them to aerobic digesters, among other improvements. As a result, the WWTP will also produce a better-quality effluent.
“Improving our nation’s water infrastructure in communities across the country is a top priority for the Trump Administration,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “This new grant complements the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement creating a comprehensive approach to addressing an urgent public health and environmental need in border communities.”
“We are proud to have participated, along with EPA, to help complete this part of the project, which will provide the increased capacity to meet the needs of the Bay Acres colonia located northeast of Douglas, as well as other existing homes in the adjacent area that may connect to the system in the future,” stated Salvador Lopez. “We congratulate the City of Douglas for getting a step closer to providing first-time access to sewer services for hundreds of residents and also being better prepared for the future.”
For his part, Mayor Uribe commented that "the Wastewater Treatment Plant expansion project marks a big milestone for our City in having the treatment capacity that can help bring growth to our City. This project would not be possible without our partners from the NADBank, EPA, WIFA, Cochise County, APS [Arizona Public Service], USDA and ADEQ [Arizona Department of Environmental Quality]. Special thanks to our contractors RMCI and CDM Smith and all City staff involved taking this project into fruition.”
“EPA is pleased to partner with the NADB, USDA, and State of Arizona to improve public health and the environment for the community of Douglas, Arizona,” said EPA’s John Busterud. “Improving water infrastructure along the border is a priority we share with our partners in Arizona and Mexico.
NADB is a financial institution established and capitalized in equal parts by the United States and Mexico for the purpose of financing environmental infrastructure projects along their common border. As a pioneer institution in its field, the Bank is working to develop environmentally and financially sustainable projects with broad community support in a framework of close cooperation and coordination between Mexico and the United States.
EPA’s Pacific Southwest Region implements and enforces federal environmental laws in Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, the Pacific Islands, and 148 tribal nations.