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EPCOR water station to ease New River water woes, delayed again


Tara Alatorre
NEW RIVER – The private utility company EPCOR announced that it can’t finish building the Anthem water station before the April 30 deadline, which is when the City of Phoenix will cut off access to its fire hydrants that water delivery trucks use to service the area.

The original site plan was approved last December in cooperation with Anthem, so EPCOR could quickly build and operate a water hauling station for residents in the Desert Hills and New River areas.  However, over the last few weeks the plan was forced to be revised several times delaying EPCOR from even breaking ground on the site.

In February the site had to be relocated slightly due to right-of-way concerns brought on by Maricopa County, then the revision of the plan had to be approved by the Anthem Community Council.  Now, EPCOR has discovered that the 1.3-acre parcel is part of the Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE) designated “National Area of Open Space (NAOS).”  The parcel is a part of the 404-mitigation planning and was set aside specifically for drainage when the Anthem development was originally built.

“They [ACOE] served us the day before we signed our agreement, so it was a little late in the game,” said Troy Day, EPCOR’s Vice President of Operations in Arizona.

The setback in the construction is unsettling for many residents who rely on water deliveries because their wells have dried up, or they are not connected to a municipal water source. The City of Phoenix will cut off water haulers access to fire hydrants for residential water deliveries on April 30, because the companies were using dust permits for home water deliveries, which is against code and infringing on the city’s 100-year water plan.

The ACOE has been working with EPCOR since March to resolve the situation so the utility company can finally break ground and provide hundreds of residents with drinking water.  The ACOE suggested that the parcel of land could be removed from the NAOS designation for an expedited solution.

“The Corps have been just awesome,” Day said.

The Anthem Community Council sent the official letter requesting that the parcel be removed as a NAOS to the ACOE Los Angeles office, and it is waiting for approval.  Once Anthem and EPCOR receive approval, the much-anticipated construction can finally begin.

“They’ve [ACOE] have been amazing, this is all out of their goodwill,” Day said.  “They did not have to agree to remove the designation.”

Maricopa County Supervisor Bill Gates, who represents the New River area, was not available for comment at the time this article was written, but he has worked with the Phoenix City Council in the past by getting deadlines extended.  Gates will be holding a community meeting on April 17, from noon to 1 p.m. at 1120 W Desert Hills Drive.

There is no date set yet for when construction will start or when the water station will be completed.