2018 Water Talk News
Ever wonder where your water comes from? Check out this video to find out!
DRAFT: Enforcement Response Plan Public Comment Period
August 14, 2018
TO: City of Flagstaff Industrial Pretreatment Customers, Stormwater Customers, Cross Connection Customers
FROM: Steve Camp, Regulatory Compliance Manager
The City of Flagstaff Water Services is requesting comments on the Enforcement Response Plan (ERP) DRAFT 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 will consider criteria such as significance, severity, and duration of a violation and the good faith of the operator when determining enforcement. To view a basic outline of our enforcement process Click Here.
Saving Baby Ducks!
June 18, 2018
Eight ducklings were recently rescued from Wildcat Hill Reclamation Plant’s effluent contact basin. As families of ducks move through the area, ducklings often make their way into the effluent water basins, but can’t make it back over the concrete walls without help. Wildcat personnel are on the lookout for them in the facility every spring, checking the basins to ensure no ducks are trapped. Due to the rapid response of the Wildcat team, all eight ducklings were rescued, released into the Picture Canyon Wetlands, and reunited with their mother.
Don’t miss the video of the rescue!
2017 Water Quality Report
June 18, 2018
The Annual Water Quality Report for 2017 is now available! You can find the report under “Your Water/Water Quality” on the Water Services Webpage, or by clicking here.
Want to know more about the report or about water treatment and quality in general? Join us for our next Community Water Forum on Monday, June 25! Regulatory Compliance Manager Steve Camp will be presenting on Flagstaff’s water testing and safety. The meeting is from 6-7 p.m. at the Joe C. Montoya Senior Center at Thorpe Park. Bring your questions! For more Information on the event Click Here
Director Brad Hill Wins Environmental Stewardship Award!
We are so proud of our Water Services Director, Brad Hill, who recently received the AZ Water Association’s 2017 Environmental Stewardship Award! The award ceremony, which took place on May 3rd at the annual AZ Water conference in Phoenix, was attended by more than 1,000 water and wastewater professionals. Brad was recognized for several accomplishments — most notably, for his leadership in pursuing a Designation of Adequate Water Supply from the Arizona Department of Water Resources. Without this designation, Flagstaff could keep growing with no legal and physical assurance of a long-term (100-year) water supply. The process required that we evaluate the impacts of groundwater pumping on environmental flows to springs that feed Oak Creek Canyon, among other areas, and to streams such as Clear Creek and Chevelon Creek, which are near and dear to many residents. To learn more about this designation and what it means for our community, click here. To learn more about Brad’s accomplishments, visit page 2 of the summer Cityscape magazine!
About Our Partnership with the Salt River Project
In Flagstaff, our water supplies are integrally linked to forest conditions. Healthy forests support healthy watersheds and allow our reservoir and aquifers to be “recharged” through rainfall and snowmelt. The City’s Water Services Division understands the importance of the forest–watershed nexus; it has been responsible for quantifying and forecasting water supplies for more than 100 years. Through careful planning and sound management, the Utilities Division has ensured that Flagstaff’s water supplies will last well into the future. However, planning and management require scientific data.
“That’s where a new partnership with the Salt River Project and its state-of-the-art SRP Flowtography® system comes into play,” said Flagstaff City Water Resources Manager Erin Young. “As part of a contract approved earlier this year by the City Council, SRP will monitor and analyze streamflow as part of the Upper Lake Mary Watershed Monitoring Project for many years.”
The largest provider of raw water to the Phoenix metropolitan area, SRP developed the Flowtography® system as a simple, inexpensive way of monitoring stream flow. The technology uses both time-lapse cameras and instream visual staff gauges to document stream flow, snow accumulation, and overall watershed conditions. This new tool has proven valuable to SRP, which captures and manages water that falls on 13,000 square miles of the Salt and Verde River watersheds for use in the Salt River Valley.
Brad Hill, Flagstaff City Water Services Director, supports the monitoring plan. “It is significant that the City and SRP are collaborating to measure the Upper Lake Mary watershed. SRP has been a leader in this type of hydrologic monitoring across northern Arizona for over a century. By partnering with SRP, we’re demonstrating our commitment and long-term stewardship of the watershed to the benefit of all Flagstaff water customers.”
This monitoring effort is important because it will provide data that the Water Services Division can use to “calibrate” its watershed model — a key tool for forecasting water supplies — to real-life conditions.
The suppression of forest fires and other influencing factors over the last 100 years has left northern Arizona’s forests choked with trees. As seen in Arizona and across the western U.S., these fires burn far more acres than in the past, at temperatures that are so hot they demolish entire forests, essentially turning the forest floor into concrete — a problem that is compounded when heavy monsoon storms later pound the landscape.
Several local initiatives are attempting to restore natural or “pre-settlement” forest conditions by making physical changes to the watershed. One is the Flagstaff Watershed Protection Project, which voters overwhelmingly approved after the Schultz Fire in 2010. Two others are the efforts of the Greater Flagstaff Forests Partnership (GFFP) and the Four Forest Restoration Initiative (4FRI).
“The immediate objectives of these initiatives,” Young said, “is not necessarily the same as ours — maximizing water supply — but by managing the forest to reduce tree density and wildfire damage, all contribute to ensuring we have a clean and reliable supply of water. We are interested in forest treatment and maintenance practices that promote conditions for aquifer recharge, surface runoff to the reservoir, and the maintenance of natural spring flows. Documenting conditions until we’ve got enough information to calibrate a watershed model will be essential to understanding the various forest conditions that benefit water supply.”
Traditional methods such as a streamflow gauge provide great information. However, Young said, without photographic documentation, it’s often hard to know if some of the data points we see are anomalous. SRP’s Flowtography® technology helps to answer these questions by providing a photo as evidence.
The benefit of working with SRP is that it will provide equipment, servicing, and image processing of the photos for Flagstaff. Much of this information will be available to the public.
Flagstaff is already benefiting from this partnership with SRP. In the first month of Flowtography® use, nearly 600 images have been collected daily from locations across the Upper Lake Mary Watershed. These images have been sifted through by sophisticated photo processing software, quality checked by staff, and used to report runoff events to the City.
Other organizations involved in the monitoring program include Northern Arizona University, the U.S. Forest Service’s Rocky Mountain Research Station, Flagstaff Watershed Protection Project, National Park Service, and the U.S. Geological Survey.
For more information, contact SRP Media Relations Representative, Jeff Lane, at 602-236-2500 or firstname.lastname@example.org and City of Flagstaff Water Resource Manager, Erin Young, at 928-213-2405 or email@example.com.
The water spigot located near the Inner Basin Cabin has been removed and permanently closed.
Water serving this spigot originates from springs and shallow wells in the Inner Basin and is not treated. The State of Arizona has determined that this water source requires routine testing and treatment before distribution to the public. The City of Flagstaff has evaluated treatment options, such as filtration and disinfection, however they are not practical nor feasible in a remote location such as the Inner Basin. To remain in compliance with all federal and state water quality rules and regulations, the City will permanently disconnect this water supply. We are exploring options to provide a raw water supply that the public can subsequently treat or filter for their use while hiking in the Inner Basin. We will keep the public updated on the status of these other water supply options via future social media posts.
The City suggests that bicyclists and hikers take sufficient water for their needs and treat any water sources found in the San Francisco Peaks as they would with water sources found elsewhere in the backcountry.