TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Pima County Government is trying to find a new use for a prime piece of land. It's near I-10 but there's a hitch.
It holds what's left of a 65 year old sewer plant. A new facility has taken over for this treatment plant. Now the county is trying to find a smart way to reuse the place.
The plot of land near I-10 and Roger Road used to hold millions of gallons of stuff you'd rather flush and forget. After more than sixty years, it was too small to handle the county's needs and there was no good way to keep that distinctive sewer smell from greeting people driving into Tucson on I-10.
So the County shut the place down and built a modern, fully enclosed plant nearby.
Jeff Prevatt of Pima Regional Wastewater Reclamation says the old place would be too expensive to upgrade...but it'll be expensive to tear out too.
“To demolish all this stuff is probably going to be tens of millions of dollars and so for our ratepayers we'd like to not have the expense right now."
Pima County's economic development plan calls for finding a new use for the plant that will generate money and jobs.
So the county would like to find someone who has a bright idea on how to use a place that can hold millions of gallons of water.
Don't get all queasy but one suggestion was fish farming. The tanks have been cleaned but the idea didn't really hold water.
Prevatt says, “The proposal we did have from the groups that wanted to do fish farming out here. These are massive tanks. Some of them are a million gallons, 700 thousand gallons and the proposals from the people that we receive, they're doing things on 50 thousand gallon, swimming pool scale. So we thought this was really outside of their wheelhouse. They weren't talking about the scale of what we're talking about here."
The old plant could become a nice piece of parkland but that would mean a lot of money to remove or fill in the tanks.
Jeff Privatt says the ideal could be a buyer who doesn't want to tear out the tanks---like a company that wants to test large pumps and filters and be near U of A's water research labs nearby.
"We do have our southwest water campus with some manufacturers who develop world class equipment for the water sector, water utilities. Maybe this has some value to them to do beta testing on their products as well."
But for now the county's still looking for a buyer who can see some real beauty in an old sewer plant.