Wal-Mart Stops Use of Drinking Water for Construction Site

Gallons of potable water have been used for dust control and soil compaction by contractors in the construction of the Wal-Mart Supercenter in Cottonwood. However, Peter Kanelos, a representative from the company's community affairs department, assured that's no longer a fact. According to Kanelos, reclaimed water would be now used for the site at Arizona 260 and Rio Mesa.

"We want to do what's right for the community," Kanelos said. "When we found out about the problem we took action."

Council member Diane Joens said she recently learned about the potable water use from local residents.

"I was surprised and dismayed when we're asking citizens in our community to conserve by half…Citizens have rights, too," she said. Joens added that she has contacted people involved with the project and was assured the use of drinkable water would be stopped.

Cottonwood's Community Development Director Jerry Owen confirmed that the site would begin using reclaimed water as of May 24.

According to Owen, the city always encourages the use of reclaimed water, "But legally…I had been advised that we can't mandate."

City Manager Brian Mickelsen said, "We don't feel, the staff, that we have a legal right to tell somebody they can't purchase water … and that you have to go buy it from the city of Cottonwood."

The cost of reclaimed water, which is sold by the city after being processed at the sewer treatment plant, costs $0.92 per 1,000 gallons, according to Verde Independent.

Tim Costello, public works director, said it's the cost of hauling water from the public works station to construction sites that deters use of reclaimed water.

"[It's] dramatically more expensive, we know that," Costello said. "All we can say is we're willing and able to provide reclaimed water."

According to Costello, there is only one pipeline in the city that directs reclaimed water, which goes to Cottonwood Ranch and that project uses about 30,000 gallons per day.

In addition, about 5,000 gallons of reclaimed water goes out in tankers each day, he added. The city can't mandate the use of reclaimed water in private party contracts, but they can and do require it on all city-funded projects, Costello said.

Verde Independent

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