October 20, 2014 / Modified oct 20, 2014 12:34 p.m.

Study Looks into Effects of Wastewater on Santa Cruz River

Sonoran Institute, local officials release initial report on water quality after recent upgrades to treatment facilities.

Story by Anthony Perkins, AZPM

A Tucson study will look into the effects wastewater has on the Santa Cruz River.

Most of the water flowing in what’s called the lower Santa Cruz River in northwestern Tucson and the town of Marana comes from two water reclamation facilities.

Local government officials and the Sonoran Institute, an environmental advocacy nonprofit, have released their initial report on water quality in the river. The project was started to determine how recent upgrades to wastewater treatment facilities are affecting the Santa Cruz.

“The first report is the baseline that will allow us to track changes in the future," said Claire Zugmeyer, project manager at the Sonoran Institute. "And when I say baseline, I mean it’s describing the changes before the upgrades happened, so next year we’ll be able to look at what big changes we’re seeing along the river.”

Zugmeyer said the first report is based on research from before the upgrades were completed.

Subsequent studies and reports will gauge whether the Pima County Regional Wastewater Reclamation’s $604 million upgrade improves the quality of treated discharge into the river.

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