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Are You Ready for this Monsoon Season?

Use this checklist for flood preparedness

7/16/2020Pre-Monsoon Reminder


Wildfires then, Wildfires now.

Yes, It Really Has Been Ten Years Since the Schultz Fire!


The Inner Basin has provided clean, great-tasting water to Flagstaff since 1898, through a pipeline traveling down the San Francisco Peaks to the Reservoir Filtration Plant (RFP) at Elden Lookout and Schultz Pass road. Spring water from the Inner Basin is captured from infiltration galleries underground. Inner Basin Spring water can provide 20% of Flagstaff’s peak day water supply during summer months, with seasonal flows totaling as much as 100 million gallons in a year. Ironically, one of the storage reservoirs at the RFP served as a critical water source to fight fire on the mountain where the springs originate, for both Schultz and more-recently, the Museum Fire in 2019 using helicopter bucket-drops.

The Schultz Fire began on June 20, 2010, followed by an extreme monsoon storm, ultimately damaging the mountainside and pipeline. These events changed the way officials manage fire and flood threats in Flagstaff. An amazing collaborative effort between City, County, US Forest Service, state and federal agencies resulted in a design-build plan completed in a little over two years. It was no easy task, rebuilding roads and pipelines in challenging terrain, moving portions of the pipeline out of designated wilderness area with support from Arizona Department of Emergency Management Agency (ADEMA) and its federal counterpart, FEMA. Read about the pipeline reconstruction and relocation here.

Lessons Learned

The Flagstaff Watershed Protection Project was created and funded through a voter-approved bond, as a result of this heightened fire-threat awareness. While proactive forest-treatment measures were underway when the Museum and Newman Fires broke out in summer 2019, only 38% of the fire-affected areas had been treated. The newly-implemented Water Resource Protection Fee supports these efforts for years to come.     

Protecting our water supply from threat of fire and subsequent flooding is one of ten priorities in the Flagstaff Water Services Strategic Plan 2025. We know that fire will happen. Proactive steps can, and are, being taken to protect the watershed through forest thinning and drainage management. This ten-year anniversary of the Schultz Fire is a good time to look back on lessons learned. So history, in this case, does not repeat itself.


A helicopter dips a brandy bucket into the 50 million-gallon North Reservoir to aid in Museum Fire relief efforts.


Water Services 2020 Report to the Water Commission is Published

Post Date: 6/8/2020

Water Services announces the annual Report to the Water Commission covering activities in 2019. Read the full report by downloading it here. You can also view the report on the Water Services Reports and Documents page at: Flagstaff.az.gov/3915/Reports-and-Documents. Some notable events discussed in the report include:

  • After twelve dedicated years, Water Services Director Brad Hill officially retires in July 2020, and Ryan Roberts will act as Interim Water Services Director. We thank Brad for his significant contributions to the Division.

  • We celebrated our one-year anniversary in the new Water Services Administration Building (WSAB)!

  • Water services contributed to the Museum Fire relief efforts by making the North Reservoir available for helicopter water retrieval in July 2019. We partnered with the County for post-fire flooding mitigation in Spruce Avenue wash and the surrounding area for the remainder of the year.

  • Due to a record setting 71-inch snowfall in February, Upper Lake Mary overflowed, resulting in increased surface water production in March and April. The lake reached full capacity on March 8, 2019 and surface water production peaked at 16.25 million gallons.

To hear more about 2019 in review, tune in to the virtual Water Commission meeting on June 18 at 4pm. You can join the meeting by following this link: Flagstaff.az.gov/1461/Streaming-City-Council-Meetings. View the agenda for the meeting here.

2020 Report to the Water Commission20190311_095756


Backflow Prevention: It’s Important to You and Your Community


Did your home or business come with a backflow preventer device located on your water line?    Stop Backflow

If you have one, be sure it gets tested annually. That backflow device protects your water supply.

Why is a backflow preventer important? 

A backflow device allows one-way flow of potable water, preventing contaminated water from reversing direction and flowing back into the City’s potable water lines, the ones that feed into your neighborhood. Businesses whose operations have the potential to impact the city’s potable water supply are required to have an annually certified backflow assembly.

Sometimes, businesses change hands or the type of operation changes; new owners may not know a backflow assembly is required by City Code. A business inspection or building permit plan review will identify the requirement for a backflow assembly. You’ll need to install, maintain and have your backflow assembly certified annually.

I feel I no longer need my backflow device, what should I do?

You must request permission to remove an existing backflow assembly with the City Cross Connection Control Program (Pretreatment Program) at: flagstaff.az.gov/Forms.aspx?FCID=25 . We will evaluate your water use, make a determination, and oversee the removal, if approved.  Plumbers are not authorized to decide if the backflow can be removed.  If a removal is done without approval, you can be required to reinstall a backflow.

We’re here to help. Our website has details on identifying proper equipment, sizing, installation and certified testers. Learn more about the Cross Connection Control Program at: flagstaff.az.gov/35/Backflow-Prevention and view backflow FAQs here: https://www.flagstaff.az.gov/3602/FAQs You can contact the Industrial Pretreatment Supervisor at (928) 213-2117 or pretreatment@flagstaffaz.gov with questions. If you own a backflow preventer or would like to receive information regarding backflows, provide your contact information here: https://forms.gle/55JZFrark8cmTav78.

Thank you for helping to protect Flagstaff’s water supply!


Wondering What to Do About the Sandbags on Your Property?


Have your flood control sandbags had some wear and tear over the months since they were placed? While sandbags can be an inconvenient eyesore, they still provide critical protection for your property. Despite an extremely dry Summer and Fall 2019, and an equally mild Winter, the threat of flooding will remain in affected areas for the next couple years. It is strongly advised that you keep sandbags in place on your property through the 2020 monsoon season (at least).

Tips and Tricks:

  • A good way to help prolong the life of your sandbags is to cover them in dark plastic sheeting (clear plastic sheeting will not protect against UV rays).
  • Leaving sandbags in place is the smartest way to protect your property.
  • Coconino County Flood Control can assist elderly or disabled residents with sandbag management.
  • Sandbags cannot be disposed of in City trash cans or placed curbside for City bulk pickup. They can either be taken to the Cinder Lake Landfill at 6770 Landfill Road or, if they are in good shape, returned to the sandbag station at 2625 N. King Street.
  • Reuse! Sand from damaged bags can be used in your garden, as an anti-slip material on ice, or put into new bags for flood protection.
sandbag photo

Please direct inquiries to:

Phone: 928-679-8300

Toll free: 800-790-1990

To view the updated notice posted in October 2019 by the Coconino Flood Control District, click here.


Water Services Receives the City Manager’s ‘Aspen Award’ - Leadership


On February 11th, City Manager, Greg Clifton presented Water Services with the Aspen Award, one of three City Manager Excellence Awards. The awards highlight a group or individual’s efforts to represent City values including teamwork, accountability, communication, quality, and leadership.

Water Services received the award for outstanding leadership in creating the Strategic Plan 2025. Serving as a communication document for fostering conversation with the public, City Council, Water Commission, and within our division, the Strategic Plan identifies ten key issues the water utility will face in the next five years. The award highlights the Strategic Plan for setting a tone, identifying standards, and establishing goals to maintain quality, reliability, and environmentally responsible success for Flagstaff’s water in the long term.

This document was crafted by our leadership team to prioritize sound planning, appropriate investments, exceptional customer service, protect public and environmental health, increase efficiency, and improve transparency and community engagement.

If you would like to learn more about the Strategic Plan, read our most recent blog post and view the full plan here. (Please note, the full plan PDF may take a few minutes to load due to the large file size. If you experience problems, you can try accessing the document through a different web browser).

Aspen Award

Water Services Leadership Team from left to right: Lisa Deem, Tim Harrington, Jim Janecek, Steve Camp, Erin Young, Jim Huchel, Brian Huntzinger, Mark Richardson


Water Conservation in Action - City Hall Lawn Goes Green     

Terra BIRDS leads Lawn Conversion Pilot Project1

September 9, 2019

The City Hall landscaping is becoming more green, with less lawn. Flagstaff Water Services partnered with Terra BIRDS, a local non-profit focused on sustainable gardens and native landscapes, to convert a segment of the lawn at City Hall to a low-water landscape, with native grass and wildflowers to support pollinator habitat. Best of all, this landscape will rely mostly on rainwater. 

2Beginning in June, Terra BIRDS enlisted twelve at-risk youth from Ponderosa High School and the Juvenile Detention Center to complete the first stage of the project. Terra BIRDS’ program to “empower youth through gardening” provides jobs and inspiration for at-risk youth in a positive setting; a chance to improve themselves while caring for the environment. As a key partner in the project, Ponderosa High School primarily funded this paid internship program for the participating students. There were community work-days, along with several workshops to demonstrate how to succeed with similar landscaping efforts at home. The project was 100% human-powered. No motorized equipment was used.

Converting to Natural Landscapes       3                                                                                                                The first step was to dig up a designated section of grass on the south side of City Hall. The old turf was composted, then planted with native grass plugs, perennial wildflowers, and additional seeds.  Natural landscape elements were incorporated, such as logs and rock borders. To view the progression of the Lawn Conversion Project, view this story map. This is the first step toward a vision of sustainable and economical lawn conversions, tying to the City’s Climate Action and Adaptation Plan and the Water Conservation Strategic Plan. Design for the rest of the space at City Hall is still underway, but could include rainwater catchment, Flagstaff Urban Trail System (FUTS) connectivity and additional Flagstaff native plants; while still keeping a large patch of green grass for public use.

5Terra BIRDS Recognized by City Council                                                         On September 3rd, 2019, City Council recognized Terra BIRDS for their tremendous effort to use less water, provide habitat for pollinators and proper urban wildlife, and for being models of sustainable land stewardship practices. In total, 2,000 square feet of lawn were converted to native shrubs and grasses, helping to celebrate 30 years of conservation action and support by City Council. To view the video of the City Council recognition, click here. This project serves as an excellent example of ways we can all save water. Way to go, Terra BIRDS!


Flagstaff Water Services Recognized as a National Leader in Water Reuse Management

September 5, 2019

Brad’s AwardFlagstaff Water Services received state and national recognition for leading the way in water reuse management! Our Director, Brad Hill, was recognized by AZ WateReuse Association for his efforts as a steward of water resources in Arizona with the President’s Award on June 29, 2019. Brad has not only led our City in the effective management of our water supplies, but his commitment to water recycling initiatives has set the City on a path toward long-term sustainability. That is no small feat for a dry, high-country mountain town. WateReuse Arizona LogoAZ WateReuse is part of a larger, national association dedicated to advancing laws, regulations and funding to support public acceptance of water recycling, promoting a Save Every Drop ethic. 

At the national level, Flagstaff Water Services has been recognized as a Water Resource Utility of the Future Today for water reuse strategies implemented in our community, and the organizational culture that supports it; ranking operations, staff participation and training, agency partnerships, technological advancements and involvement with the community, as well as our ability to provide a blueprint for other municipal utilities to follow. 

Water Resources Utility of the Future Today LogoThe Utility of the Future Recognition Program acknowledges utilities across the country for outstanding and efficient water supply management. Comprised of a group of National Water Associations and Foundations, the program highlights utility companies that develop proactive relationships with stakeholders, establish resilient and livable communities, and advance social, economic and environmental sustainability.

Recycled water plays an important role in the Flagstaff community, offsetting our potable water use demand by 20% each year. Since 1975, the City of Flagstaff Water uses Class A+ reclaimed water for irrigating City landscapes, parks, schools and golf courses. Northern Arizona University (NAU) uses our reclaimed water for landscaping and for flushing toilets. Arizona Snowbowl Resort uses our reclaimed water for snowmaking. Reclaimed water tops off levels in Frances Short Pond, while the remaining water is discharged along the Rio de Flag drainage system to support riparian habitat and recharging our underlying aquifers. Flagstaff Water Services is committed to exploring strategies to recycle water in creative and efficient ways to support a sustainable community.


The Effects of Fire on Water in Flagstaff

August 2, 2019

Last month, Flagstaff experienced two significant wildfires – the Newman Fire and the Museum Fire. While fire events surrounding monsoon season may not be unusual, both fires can have a direct impact on water in Flagstaff long after the last embers are extinguished.

Newman Fire: Protecting Lake Mary Watershed                         On July 11, a lightning strike three miles south of Upper Lake Mary started the Newman Fire. Extending into Newman Canyon, this area was slated for thinning and brush removal over the coming year through Four-Forest Restoration Initiative (4FRI) the Flagstaff Watershed Protection Plan (FWPP). Newman Canyon is the largest, single tributary feeding into Lake Mary. Considerable collaborations occurred between fire managers and water operations staff to minimize the potential effects of ash and debris flowing into Lake Mary. Closely monitoring its growth, fire crews performed back burns to contain the fire area as much as possible. This slow, low density fire minimized the negative effect fire has on soils and subsequent erosion. Aerial ignition operations employed on July 17th, allowed fire crews to continue monitoring the fire’s perimeter, keeping it within the containment zone. 

Another major consideration in managing the fire was protecting essential water production infrastructure and equipment. Flagstaff Water Services operates several water wells in that area, and had placed monitoring equipment, such as rain gauges and cameras, in key locations in Newman Canyon. Fire crews proactively protected the equipment with fireproof coverings and considered equipment locations into the fire burn management plan. When full containment occurred in late July, nearly 5,000 acres had burned, with no structural damage or injuries.

For Water Services staff, the hazards don’t end when the embers die down. The Newman Fire has the potential to impact water quality in Upper Lake Mary, due to ash and debris inflow from intense monsoon events.  Water quality sensors in the SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) system can alert the Lake Mary Water Treatment Plant of excess particulates (turbidity conditions) in Lake Mary, as well as monitoring drainage flows coming down Newman Canyon. The alarm system allows staff time to take preventive measures, turning on other water supplies should Lake Mary’s turbidity exceed the maximum levels.  Flagstaff’s average summer water demand is between 8 and 12 million gallons a day, 28% of which is drawn from Upper Lake Mary. Should Lake Mary’s tap need to be shut off, Flagstaff’s water supply would be affected.

photo 4

What YOU Can Do:

  • Check your property easements for access and free-flow in drainages. Drainages filled with trash can cause flooding to your neighborhood and is the property-owner’s responsibility.
  • Sign up for emergency notifications at coconino.az.gov/ready
  • If your home is flood impacted, call 928-213-2990. Call 9-1-1 for flood EMERGENCIES only.
  • To protect from flood damage, place sandbags around the perimeter of homes and businesses. You can obtain sandbags at these locations:
  • Aztec Street near Frances Short Pond
  • The east and west ends of East Elder Drive in Siler Homes
  • 1701 Ponderosa Parkway, past Fire Station No. 2 on the right.  

The sandbag filling area is not regularly manned. Residents should bring shovels to fill sandbags, if pre-made bags are not available. Sandbags should be placed within one to two feet of your home or structure. Do not surround your entire property with sandbags, to avoid negatively impacting your neighbor’s property.

  • You can view forecasts, watches and warnings issued by the National Weather Service for northern Arizona at www.wrh.noaa.gov/fgz/ and know the warning signals:
  • Flood Watch: Be prepared
  • Flood Warning: Take action. Move to higher ground. Never drive through flooded streets.
  • Enable emergency alerts your smartphone for National Weather Service notifications. Click on Extreme Threats and Severe Threats under Settings
  • Follow rainfall and streamflow in the City  in real-time through a series of radio-telemetered gauges at: www.flagstaff.az.gov/raingauges.
  • Purchase flood insurance to protect your home if you are in an impacted area under threat from the Museum Fire scar and potential flooding debris. You can find more information at: www.floodsmart.gov or by contacting your insurance agent.
  • Be Water Aware. It is particularly important to be aware of your water usage during this time. With precious water resources at risk, all Flagstaff residents should conserve as much as possible.
photo b
photo a
photo 3

Museum Fire: Post-Fire Flood Mitigation                                   The Museum Fire began on Sunday, July 21st in the Dry Lake Hills area, just north of town. As many residents are already aware, areas in the Dry Lake Hills have been closed due to forest thinning operations under the FWPP management plan since Fall 2018. The project includes mechanical and hand-thinning, slash removal, clean up, and helicopter logging. The thinning effects, although not completed when the fire started, did much to mitigate the severity of the burn. Only 12% of the area burned at high severity, while 60% burned at low-to-very low severity of the 1,962-acre fire perimeter. Helicopters drew water from the North Reservoir Filtration Plant as part of the suppression efforts. The Inner Basin Pipeline delivers over a million gallons of water per day during summer months. The Inner Basin water supply was diverted from the public water system to the North Reservoir to support firefighting efforts.

While no structures were damaged during the Museum Fire, impacts to the watershed are likely to happen in coming years that the Flagstaff community should be aware of. Post-fire flooding is a serious threat. Water Services is just one of many agencies and city divisions, along with an army of volunteers, who are working diligently to mitigate the impacts. We ask you, the public, to do your part in managing the effects of flood events in your neighborhood.

photo 5

Be Safety-wise:

  • Keep in mind that streets flood quickly. A car can float in as little as one foot of water, so do not attempt to cross flooded areas and respect all traffic barricades.
  • Do not walk through flowing water. A current of just six inches of water can sweep people off their feet.
  • In the event of a flood, seek high ground. Shelter in place, where possible.
  • Know where your children are at all times, and do not let them play near channels, creeks or streams when water is rising.

Together, we can help ourselves and our community protect our environment, property and water supply.


Emergency Addressed - Disaster Averted

"Rag" Ball Causes Digester Pipe Failure

May 30, 2019

Wildcat Hill Water Reclamation Plant [WHWRP] staff responded to an emergency alarm at 1 am on Saturday, May 4. On-call personnel found a pipe separated at the Digester stage of the plant. Digesters break down solids separated from the wastewater through a biological process, creating potentially hazardous gases as a byproduct. In addition to releasing 30,000 gallons of partially-digested sludge, deadly hydrogen sulfide gas was released into the hallways. Staff continually use monitors to detect the presence of lethal gases, and in this case, the monitors alarmed a warning. Staff donned SCBA’s (portable air tanks) and began the initial repairs. A quick response was crucial, as the methane gas also being released had the potential to cause an explosion. 

Twelve hours later, the last of the nasty sludge had been squeegeed from the tunnels, a replacement valve was retrieved from Phoenix and installed, and the disinfection process had begun. A potential disaster was averted. The source of the problem? A “rag” ball jammed inside a pipe; the back pressure created by the blockage caused the piping to separate and leak.

How bad could it have been? As other utilities have discovered, it can result in an explosion destroying the facility, worker injury and even death. The cost to mitigate a disaster like this is hundreds of thousands of dollars, or more. And it’s all created by habitual dumping of rags, “flushable” napkins, towels or feminine hygiene products down the drain. These items can cause severe complications throughout the City sewer lines and at our wastewater treatment facilities.

Who pays for the remediation costs? We do, through increased utility rates. The City spends thousands of dollars each year, filtering out debris that could potentially damage our system.

Is it preventable? Absolutely! We'll learn from this incident to train staff, upgrade the gas detection system and increase frequency of valve inspections to remove any blockages. We also have bar screen upgrades and material grinders in the capital plan for 2020. 

What can you do to help? Be Water AwareOur water is constantly recycled; what we put down the drain matters! To find out more information about what should not go down our drains, click here.

We diverted a possible disaster at Wildcat Hill, largely through regular safety training and employing “best practices”. We’ll learn from this incident to train staff, increase frequency of valve inspections, and keep emergency spare parts on site. The wastewater treatment staff’s response to this emergency speaks volumes about their dedication to the job on behalf of our community. Way to go, TEAM FLAGSTAFF!

1) Sludge fills the Digester
3) Digester explosion - Chicago Tribune, August 2018
4) Paul and Matt covered in sludge

We Didn't Forget About the Recycled Water Survey! 

Here is a brief summary of the results while we are finishing the report.

May 30, 2019

Recycled Water Survey Results

Honoring National Groundwater Awareness Week:
A Tribute to Flagstaff Area Well Drillers & Scientists

March 13, 2019

To celebrate National Groundwater Awareness Week, the Flagstaff community gathered at the Gopher Hole Pub on Monday, March 11 to hear stories about the successes and perils of developing groundwater from the C-Aquifer, as told by legendary well drillers and scientists. The event was organized and facilitated by Flagstaff’s Water Resources Manager, Erin Young, and co-hosted with the Flagstaff Chapter of the Arizona Hydrological Society. The forum raised awareness on the strides that water well drillers and groundwater scientists made by risking their reputations in pursuit of reliable community water supplies. Flagstaff and surrounding communities would not be what they are today if it weren’t for the hard work and dedication of these individuals. Errol Montgomery, Don Perry, Don Bills, Gary Small, and Klaudia Ness shared their experiences and brought history to life with nearly 50 people in attendance. Read information on each speaker here.


Errol Montgomery
Don Perry
Don Bills
Gary Small
Klaudia Ness

Errol Montgomery, Retired Hydrologist & Consultant to City on Lake Mary Wellfield Development & Sustainability

Don Perry, Retired City Water Production Maintenance Supervisor & Fourth Generation Well Driller

Don Bills, Retired U.S. Geological Survey Hydrologist & Lead Author of USGS Report on the Regional Aquifer below Flagstaff and Surrounding Areas

Gary Small, Hydrologist & Consultant to City on Largest Production Well at 1,200 gallons per minute

Klaudia Ness, Manager, Bellemont Water Company


Recent Precipitation Causes Spillover at Lake Mary

March 11, 2019

February’s storms brought more than just icy roads and muddy trails to Flagstaff. It’s great news for our water supply.  Upper Lake Mary began spilling over the dam on March 8, and our water production staff are capitalizing on this great resource. To give a comparison, the lake was 50% full this time, last year, with surface water production at 30% of total consumption. We are currently running at about 40% surface water production, with plans for additional percentage production and 24-hour shifts later this spring; the first time operating around the clock since 2011. At the end of 2018, Upper Lake Mary was about 21% full. On February 3, the Lake was 25% full, and reached 100% on March 8.  That’s a significant inflow in one month’s time!20190311_095844


By the numbers, we produced 3.75 million gallons the second week of January 2019, compared to 16.25 million gallons last week. Why is this important? The high lake levels reduce the demand for groundwater, saving our aquifers for drier times. We’re monitoring our aquifer levels, as well. While this wet winter may cause problems on the roads, it’s a gift we’ll happily use to the benefit of our Flagstaff residents.

See a video clip of the spillover here.


Wet Well Inspection at Rio Water Reclamation Plant

March 7, 2019

You don’t have to be a firefighter to descend into deep, confined spaces! Water Services multi-skilled workers are often required to go above and beyond their typical duties to perform maintenance. Such was the case last week, at the Rio Water Reclamation Plant, where an influent pump problem required diverting flows to the Rio WRP, while a staff member was lowered 30 feet down into the bottom of a wet well. 

This area had never been inspected in the plant’s 26-year history, requiring ten days of careful preparation to identify potential hazards and repair needs, such as trapped gasses and equipment failure. The Fire Department assisted with the double harness setup, and remained on standby, during the wet well entry.

It turned out, the needed repairs were able to be performed outside the wet well. While the conditional inspection was helpful, it serves as a reminder to incorporate safe access in all of our wet wells and vault designs for the future.

Wet well with caption


Finalized Enforcement Response Plan

February 4, 2019

TO: City of Flagstaff Industrial Pretreatment Customers, Stormwater Customers, Cross Connection Customers

FROM: Steve Camp, Regulatory Compliance Manager                            

The City of Flagstaff Water Services has adopted the Enforcement Response Plan (ERP) for the cross-connection control, stormwater, and industrial pretreatment programs. The ERP contains detailed procedures indicating how Flagstaff Water Services will investigate and respond to instances of noncompliance in these three programs.

Flagstaff Water Services considers criteria such as significance, severity, duration of a violation and the good faith of the operator when determining enforcement action. To view the Pretreatment Warning Letter, Click Here.

Please contact Steve Camp at (928) 213-2475 or scamp@flagstaffaz.gov if you have any questions regarding the Enforcement Response Plan or the subsequent processes involved. 

To view the Draft ERP, visit our 2018 Archive.


Program of the Year!

July 30, 2018

On July 23, Flagstaff Water Services Reclaimed Water Program received the Program of the Year Award at the WateReuse AZ Annual Symposium!        

The Program was recognized for its diverse methods of using reclaimed water to enhance Flagstaff’s quality of life, protect its future supplies, and make good use of every drop. Currently, water reclamation offsets Flagstaff’s water consumption by 20 percent.

The WateReuse Association, founded in 1990, is a national not-for-profit trade organization dedicated to promoting sustainable culture through water recycling.  The Association circulates accurate information about reclaimed water and advocates legislation for increased water reuse options.  WateReuse AZ brings together a wide variety of water professionals to support the development of reclamation and advanced treatment endeavors in our state.

Water Services Director Brad Hill accepting the award


Our Reclaimed Water Team at the Symposium


Picture Canyon Waterfall

Picture Canyon Retouched

This award showcases the many ways reclaimed water enhanced recreational, economic, and sustainability needs in Flagstaff in 2018:          

  • The Bushmaster Park Pump Station was constructed to provide a higher volume of reclaimed water to the area and accommodate future demands.                                                           
  • Frances Short Pond, part of the Rio de Flag stormwater system, is regularly topped off with grade A+ reclaimed water.  The Pond received a new aerator this this year to provide balance for its fish and plant life.                                                                                                                   
  • Reclaimed water also sustains Picture Canyon’s rich ecosystem as it travels through the Rio de Flag. Flagstaff consistently releases grade A+ water into the Rio to benefit the local environment and replenish our aquifers.                                                                                                
  • Reclaimed water is used throughout the summer on our parks, school grounds, golf courses, public landscapes, and on the NAU campus.  In winter, reclaimed water customers like Arizona Snowbowl thrive and bring revenue into the community.  In early 2018, amid extraordinary drought, Snowbowl reported its fifth-best season on record.  Snowbowl has been utilizing reclaimed water for its snowmaking since 2013.

The City of Flagstaff is committed to the responsible and safe use of reclaimed water. In response to public concern, a commission was formed in 2012 to investigate Compounds of Emerging Concern (CECs).  This five-year study, completed in 2018, concluded that “there were no data to suggest that the continued use of reclaimed water provides undue risk to human health.”  This determination allowed for the City to move forward to the next step – an Advanced Treatment Feasibility Study – reviewing the potential costs, benefits, and new infrastructure associated with Potable Reuse for Flagstaff’s future.

As a leader for emerging water reuse technologies, our Reclaimed Water Program is providing the community with safe, environmentally sustainable water, positioning us to meet all current and future water needs for our community. 


For past news stories please visit the Water Talk New Archive.

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