Wastewater

What is Wastewater?
Wastewater is water that is delivered to homes and businesses that is not consumed and goes down the drain from sinks, bathtubs, floor drains, and toilets. This used water includes contaminants such as human waste, food scraps, oil, soap, chemicals, as well as any foreign item that will fit through the sewer pipes.

Where does it go?
The Town's wastewater then travels through miles of various sized pipes known as the collection system, which delivers it to the Wastewater Treatment Plant, located on the Southeast side of Town. The Town's wastewater treatment plant collects and treats approximately 450,000 gallons of wastewater (effluent) per day from Town residents and businesses.

Aerial Photo of the Wastewater Treatment Plant


What is the treatment process?
The Town of Wickenburg's wastewater treatment plant is designed to provide secondary treatment using the activated sludge process. The activated sludge process, developed in the early 1900's, is perhaps the most widely used process for reducing the concentration of dissolved, particulate and colloidal organic pollutants in wastewater. It is an aerobic, biological treatment method that uses metabolic reaction of microorganisms to produce and acceptable effluent quality by removing substances that have oxygen demand. This effluent (the liquid byproduct of the process) is transferred to infiltration basins at the plant site. The bio-solids (sludge), the final product of this process, is dried and transported to the landfill.

The primary objective of the wastewater treatment plant operation is to meet the applicable requirements of the regulatory agencies for groundwater protection. These agencies include; The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ), and the Maricopa county Health Department's Environmental Division. In establishing the requirements for wastewater treatment, the regulatory agencies consider the following:
  • Prevention of disease,
  • Prevention of nuisances,
  • Avoidance of water supply contamination,
  • Elimination of all pollutant discharges to navigable waters,
  • Maintaining clean waters for the propagation and survival of fish and other aquatic life,
  • Protection of waters for personal bathing and recreational use,
  • Preservation of pristine waters for ecosystem protection, and
  • Conservation of water.
What not to flush
The wastewater system is a critical health system for our community. Because of the importance of this system we ask that residents know what items are acceptable to flush down the drain. While some companies advertise "flushable wipes", the wastewater industry as a whole does not agree. These products should not be flushed down the drain. The major issue is the fiber materials that are being used to produce these wipes. While normal toilet paper breaks down almost instantly during the flush cycle, these wipes remain intact and cause major sewer system blockages in both public and private portions of the collection system. The blockages in the private portions (private property) can result in sewage backing up into homes. The blockages in the public portions of the system result in increased maintenance and replacement costs, which in turn could increase the rate you pay to use this system. Please watch the YouTube link for an eye-opening demonstration. Please dispose of the "flushable" wipes in your solid waste receptacle.

Open this link to document that gives more examples of items you should not flush.