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EPCOR is committed to providing customers with clean and reliable water and wastewater services and to being a good neighbor in our communities. ​

The Copper Basin Water Reclamation Facility (WRF) is the solution to longstanding issues with the Section 11 WRF in EPCOR's new San Tan wastewater district. Read more about this important project – why it's needed, how it solves the Section 11 problem, and when it will be complete. 

Background and project need​

Copper Basin was planned over two decades as the safest and best long-term solution to the needs of the areas served by the issue-prone Section 11 plant. Section 11 does not reflect industry standards, uses outdated technology, and has seriously deteriorated over the years – at the same time that the population it serves has grown significantly. The facility uses an open-air, lagoon-style treatment process that is partially responsible for many of the issues customers have experienced.  ​

During EPCOR's time as Interim Manager we made as many improvements as possible to Section 11 – but nothing more could be done to improve it effectively. Ideally, Copper Basin would already have been built and providing service today.​ We immediately went to work on Copper Basin when we officially became the utility provider in the San Tan district in 2021.​​

To learn more about the proposed Copper Basin Water Reclamation Facility and why it is needed, you can view the December 2021 community information session here.

We are required by the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) to have the new Copper Basin facility providing service by December 2023 and to decommission Section 11 by the end of 2025.

The Copper Basin Project
​The Copper Basin facility will be a fully enclosed facility with state-of-the-art odor control equipment, extensive systems to monitor conditions round the clock and other important design features.​

EPCOR has vast experience building and maintaining safe, enclosed water reclamation environments that integrate unobtrusively into their communities. In addition to being fully enclosed, our facilities use biological processes rather than rely on chemicals to treat wastewater. Our Verrado and Anthem (north Phoenix) facilities are examples of this approach, as is the new Luke 303 Water Reclamation Facility currently under construction, and very similar to the facility planned for Copper Basin.

Copper Basin will use treatment technologies that meet the ADEQ's Best Available Demonstrated Control Technology (BADCT) requirements. The plant will also meet setback standards, be fully and safely enclosed, and will not be accessible via neighborhood streets. All noise-generating equipment will be contained in either a building or a sound-attenuation enclosure to provide sound mitigation.
Areas Served
​Copper Basin will serve roughly the same areas as the current Section 11 plant, homes as far north as Hash Knife Draw Road and as far south as Arizona Farms Road.

The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) requires EPCOR to decommission and replace the Section 11 lagoons by the end of 2025, with the Copper Basin facility providing service by the end of 2023.​

Construction on Copper Basin started in mid-2022, soon after EPCOR became the San Tan district’s wastewater service provider and has stayed on schedule ever since.

While Copper Basin is right on schedule, it is possible that electrical equipment could take longer to get here as a result of global supply chain issues. Just in case, we requested a three-month extension to get Copper Basin up and running. ADEQ has approved that 90-day extension to March 31, 2024. We’re still focused on December 31, 2023, as long as electrical equipment that powers Copper Basin arrives on time.
This doesn’t change the timing to close down Section 11 – it will be decommissioned after Copper Basin begins operating and we expect that to happen by the December 2025 timeframe as planned.

We recognize that customers and others may have ongoing questions about the project, and we're committed to transparency and responsiveness. We'll be posting updated project information and timelines on this page and staying in touch with customers in other ways, like EPCOR Essentials news in your monthly bill, throughout the process.

Facility Location
​The proposed site for the Copper Basin plant is ideal for safe, clean operation of a water reclamation facility. While Section 11 is located on a high point that requires "lift" stations to convey wastewater to it, a much more efficient solution is to locate a plant at a lower point where it can operate naturally with gravity, as is the case with the proposed Copper Basin site.

The proposed location is also part of the Central Arizona Governments 208 Plan, which was approved in 2007 and the Copper Basin Planned Area Amendment, proposed in 1999. 

Section 11 Updates

 EPCOR’s approach to building and operating state-of-the-art water reclamation facilities is different to what customers have experienced with Section 11. We were able to improve it enough to continue to operate until Copper Basin is up and running, but we can’t turn it off until that happens. If we do, there is nowhere for the wastewater coming from homes and businesses in this area to go.
We have improved Section 11 as much as possible and significantly lowered instances of odor exceedances, but there continue to be times when the facility’s ecosystem is upset and odors can increase. When that happens, our team immediately gets to work to fix the problem. Here’s one example:

In March 2023, an excessive amount of sewer trash and elevated flows of wastewater coming into Section 11 damaged the lagoon-style aeration system several times. Section 11’s screening system is ineffective, so EPCOR team members must manually rake the screens to clear them and prevent larger debris, like flushable wipes and rags, from coming through. Once the floating debris subsided and all aerators were back up and running, odors decreased to normal levels.
Help us protect your wastewater system: Don’t flush anything but toilet paper down the toilet. Everything else, even flushable wipes, can cause major issues.