Advanced Oxidation Plant at the Tucson International Airport Area Groundwater Remediation Project

Wednesday, August 9, 2017: 10:15 a.m.
Jeff Biggs , Strategic Initiatives, Tucson Water, Tucson, AZ

Public health and safety has always been, and will continue to be, one of Tucson Water’s (TW) top priorities. The Tucson International Airport Area Groundwater Remediation Project (TARP) wells and water treatment plant are owned and operated by TW. These facilities have been cleaning up groundwater at one of Arizona’s largest Federal Superfund sites and providing TW’s customers with high-quality drinking water for over two decades.

TW has been operating the TARP remediation wellfields and water treatment plant to remove trichloroethene (TCE) and other volatile organic chemicals (VOCs) from groundwater as part of the Tucson International Airport Area Federal Superfund site remediation since 1994. The treated water is used as a source for Tucson’s potable water distribution system. In 2002, 1,4-dioxane was first detected in TARP groundwater. The process at the TARP water treatment plant was ineffective for 1,4-dioxane removal. TW closely monitored 1,4‑dioxane levels and began blending to reduce concentrations from TARP. Years before revised regulations were published, TW began studying long-term solutions and develop contingency plans for deploying advanced oxidation, the only proven municipal-scale treatment process for this contaminant.

With direction from Tucson’s Mayor and City Council, TW commissioned design and construction of a new Advanced Oxidation Process (AOP) treatment facility adjacent to TARP to treat groundwater from the remediation wells upstream of the existing plant.

Tucson’s AOP facility is the first application of UV AOP technology in Arizona for groundwater remediation producing municipal drinking water and the State’s first drinking water treatment facility targeting 1,4‑dioxane. The facility employs several innovative elements designed to ensure consistent water quality, provides fail-safe automated operation, and minimizes operating costs by optimizing energy and chemical use. It is also the first municipal drinking water UV AOP facility in the U.S. to utilize granular activated carbon (GAC) specifically for excess hydrogen peroxide quenching.

Jeff Biggs, Strategic Initiatives, Tucson Water, Tucson, AZ
Jeff has over 36 years of experience in the water profession. Jeff’s experience includes water treatment and quality, water resource management, public outreach, intergovernmental affairs, and research. Jeff also has extensive management experience and is a member of numerous Boards and committees. Jeff is an avid golfer and is the Chair of the Southern Arizona Golf Classic, which in thirteen years has raised over $360,000 for Water for People. Water for People is an international 501(c)(3) nonprofit humanitarian organization that focus on long-lasting, safe drinking water and improved sanitation for developing countries.