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Water Supply of the Upper Colorado River Planning Area - Effluent and Contamination Sites

Water supplies in the Upper Colorado River Planning Area include Colorado River water, other surface water, groundwater, and effluent.  Colorado River water is the primary water supply in the Lake Havasu and Lake Mohave basins.  It is also used to meet environmental water demands for the Havasu National Wildlife Refuge in the Sacramento Valley Basin.  Elsewhere, groundwater is the primary water supply.  A discussion of Colorado River water entitlements and accounting can be found here.  However, for the purpose of the Atlas, the subsequent individual basin and water supply and demand discussions report the use of Colorado River water as either groundwater, if it is pumped from a well within the hydraulically connected aquifer, or as surface water when it is directly diverted from the river.

Figure 4.0-14 Water Supplies in the Upper Colorado River Planning Area

Water Supply Pie


Effluent is a potential water supply at locations throughout the planning area, with about 10,200 acre-feet produced annually. Currently, about 3,100 AFA of effluent is used in the Lake Havasu and Lake Mohave basins for turf irrigation.  Approximately 3,300 acre-feet of effluent was produced in the Lake Havasu Basin in 2008 and in 2006 more than 2,400 acre-feet was used.  Lake Havasu City is evaluating new sources of effluent demand as well as effluent recharge. 

Approximately 3,100 acre-feet of effluent is produced in the Lake Mohave Basin each year.  Within the basin, Bullhead City annually delivers about 600 acre-feet of effluent and Arizona-American Water Company delivers about 180 acre-feet.

The Kingman-Hilltop Wastewater Treatment Plant, located in the Hualapai Valley Basin, generates about 1,800 acre-feet of effluent per year which is currently disposed in a wetland and evaporation ponds.  The treatment system that serves the community of Peach Springs consists of a sewer with secondary treatment and disposal in evaporation ponds and unlined impoundments.  There are four wastewater treatment plants in the Sacramento Valley Basin, one in Kingman, one at the Griffith power plant and two in the vicinity of Franconia, located about midway between Topock and Yucca.  Information is available on only two plants in the basin, which produced a total of about 400 acre-feet of effluent, that was disposed in evaporation ponds or in a watercourse.

No wastewater treatment facilities were identified by the Department in the Big Sandy, Bill Williams or Meadview basins.  A facility exists at Temple Bar in the Detrital Valley Basin but information on the volume of wastewater treated and the disposal method(s) was not available to the Department. 

Contamination Sites

Sites of environmental contamination may impact the availability of water supplies.   An inventory of Department of Defense (DOD), Superfund (Environmental Protection Agency designated sites), Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), Water Quality Assurance Revolving Fund (state designated WQARF sites), Voluntary Remediation Program (VRP), and Leaking Underground Storage Tank (LUST) sites was conducted for the planning area.  Of these various contamination sites only LUST and VRP sites are found in this planning area.  Table 4.0-9 lists VRP sites, their contaminants and affected media, and respective basins.  The location of all contamination sites in the planning area is shown on Figure 4.0-16.

There are five active VRP sites, primarily associated with crude oil contamination of soil. The VRP is a state-administered and funded voluntary cleanup program.  Any site that has soil and/or groundwater contamination, provided that the site is not subject to an enforcement action by another remediation program, is eligible to participate.  To encourage participation, ADEQ provides an expedited process and a single point of contact for projects that involve more than one program (Environmental Law Institute, 2002).

There are 153 active LUST sites including 60 sites in the Kingman area in the Sacramento Valley Basin, 30 sites in and around Bullhead City in the Lake Mohave Basin, and 47 sites in the vicinity of Lake Havasu City in the Lake Havasu Basin. 

Click to view Figure 4.0-16


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Bill Williams River Detrital Valley Basin