Community Water Quality Information System for a New and Sustainable Water Supply

EPA Grant Number: R828576
Title: Community Water Quality Information System for a New and Sustainable Water Supply
Investigators: Pearthree, Marie S. , Chavez, Kathleen , Chesser, Sharyn , Davis, Stephen E. , Hines, Stefani , Johnson, Freda , Kaneen, Richard , MacNeill, Elizabeth , Matthewson, Charles H. , McGuire, Michael J. , Pepper, Ian L. , Rosen, Jeffrey S. , Wierenga, Peter J.
Current Investigators: Pearthree, Marie S. , Chavez, Kathleen , Davis, Stephen E. , Johnson, Freda , Kaneen, Richard , Kotelman, Marleen , Lindsey, Marti , MacNeill, Elizabeth , Mariner, Linda , McGuire, Michael J. , Pepper, Ian L. , Rosen, Jeffrey S. , Wierenga, Peter J.
Institution: City of Tucson, AZ , Arizona Department of Environmental Quality , City of Tucson, AZ , Kaneen Advertising & Public Relations, Inc. , McGuire Malcolm Pirnie Environmental Consultants , Pima County Health Department , Pima County Wastewater Management Department , Rillito Consulting Group , Technology Planning and Management Corporation , Tucson Unified School District , University of Arizona
Current Institution: City of Tucson, AZ , Arizona Department of Environmental Quality , Kaneen Advertising & Public Relations, Inc. , McGuire Malcolm Pirnie Environmental Consultants , Pima County Health Department , Pima County Wastewater Management Department , Rillito Consulting Group , Technology Planning and Management Corporation , Tucson Unified School District , University of Arizona
EPA Project Officer: Hiscock, Michael
Project Period: February 1, 2001 through January 31, 2003 (Extended to January 31, 2005)
Project Amount: $400,000
RFA: Environmental Monitoring for Public Access and Community Tracking (EMPACT) (2000) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Ecological Indicators/Assessment/Restoration , Water , Air

Description:

Clearwater Renewable Resource Facility. The Clearwater facility will provide a carefully selected blend of recharged Colorado River water and groundwater to the community beginning in 2001, thereby providing a renewable drinking water supply, lessening dependence on Tucson's primary aquifer, and reducing the potential for subsidence in the metropolitan area. This project seeks to aid the re-introduction of this alternate and necessary source of supply by informing the public of the quality of this new drinking water at their taps in homes and businesses, and associated water resource and environmental benefits, through a focused consumer outreach effort that can serve as a national model for communities anticipating future changes in water supply and quality.

The City of Tucson Water Department, in collaboration with the University of Arizona, county and state agencies, water quality and conservation organizations, local schools, stakeholder groups and private industry, will conduct a water resources and quality monitoring, management, and public information project vital to the environmental protection, economic growth, and public health and confidence of the Tucson community.

  1. Environmental Parameter Monitoring/Measurement: Increase water quality parameters currently being measured, adding extensive and continuous on-line sampling and monitoring of the quality of the new potable water supply at its source and in the distribution system, and of the quantity and general quality of recycled wastewater and secondary effluent discharged to the Santa Cruz River. Expand monitoring technology to possibly include a new technology for measuring total trihalomethanes, depending on availability.
  2. Information Management, Processing, and Delivery: Improve time relevancy of access to water quality data in the potable distribution system and develop methods of transmitting and checking the quality of data to provide data in a near real-time setting.
  3. Communication: Provide more individual information for customers by identifying specific constituencies such as the Hispanic, Native American and medical communities; soliciting feedback; and creating methods to individualize data by location. Create a context for understanding water resources data, thus removing misperceptions, and serve as a source of reliable, authoritative information on fast-breaking water quality issues.

Approach:

Building on the City's innovative water quality public information program, "At the Tap", the successful pilot-scale water quality demonstration program in four Tucson-area neighborhoods featuring the new water supply, the "Ambassador Neighborhoods Program," and stakeholder input through the City's Livable Tucson strategic planning process, this project will assemble information on the quality of drinking water available to the community, and track the water supply through various uses and treatments. The quantity and quality elements of the transition to full-scale operation of the Clearwater facility must be fully shared with the public. On-line monitoring of water quality parameters at selected sites in the distribution system and at the source will provide consumers with the confidence that their drinking water meets all federal, state and community-driven health and aesthetic standards. Other information to be provided also includes the amount of water withdrawn from the local well fields, so consumers can appreciate how their efforts are helping to meet sustainability goals and manage subsidence. The amount of wastewater that is treated and returned to the Santa Cruz River for riparian habitat enhancement and longer-term recharge and recovery and the quality of the water that is recycled for irrigation purposes will also be relayed, highlighting conservation efforts and the nature of the water-use cycle in water-short regions.

Water quality parameters to be monitored include: pH, conductivity, temperature, hardness, and tracer anions. Specific parameters that are important for public health that will be monitored in the drinking water system also include disinfectant residuals; total trihalomethanes (THM's) - a regulated disinfection byproduct (DBP) and suspected human carcinogen; and fluoride and nitrate.

This project will identify the water quality/quantity data desired by targeted groups and effective, state-of-the art methods to communicate this information. For example, this project will provide neighborhood residents the ability to identify their street addresses on a web site map, receive easily understandable results of nearby water monitoring stations, and obtain a real-time, water quality report on their drinking water. The information made available to Tucson Water customers in general and to such groups as the medical, Hispanic and Native American communities, and newer, faster monitoring and information management technology systems will further improve community confidence in Tucson Water's ability to deliver a safe and reliable water supply. The website would also include information regarding the health effects of drinking water contaminants. Risk management improvement will revolve around better access to water quality data on the part of the utility and the community.

Expected Results:

As a result of this program, Tucson area water consumers will:

  • Be better informed about water quality and resource issues through the dissemination of time-relevant information in a customer-focused manner;
  • Possess information that will allow timely, wise, public-health and consumptive choices;
  • Feel assured about the quality and safety of drinking water delivered to their homes;
  • Gain customer confidence in a critical new water supply; and
  • Gain confidence in Tucson area organizations as responsible, cooperative stewards through increased disclosure of information and responsiveness to customer information needs.

Publications and Presentations:

Publications have been submitted on this project: View all 77 publications for this project

Supplemental Keywords:

sensitive populations, ethnic groups, chemicals, community-based, environmental chemistry, monitoring, analytical, southwest, Arizona, AZ, EPA Region IX, water utility; CAP; Central Arizona Project., RFA, Health, Scientific Discipline, Geographic Area, Water, Ecosystem Protection/Environmental Exposure & Risk, POLLUTANTS/TOXICS, Environmental Chemistry, Health Risk Assessment, Arsenic, State, Susceptibility/Sensitive Population/Genetic Susceptibility, Monitoring/Modeling, Environmental Monitoring, genetic susceptability, Water Pollutants, Drinking Water, EPA Region, disinfection byproducts, monitoring, sensitive populations, Region 9, EMPACT, community-based approach, health risks, disinfection by-products, exposure and effects, ethnic, exposure, public information, other - risk assessment, water supply, treatment, Arizona (AZ), community water quality information system, community outreach, water quality, dietary exposure, outreach and education, DBP exposure, groundwater, information management, real-time monitoring

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 2001 Progress Report
  • 2002 Progress Report
  • 2003 Progress Report
  • Final Report