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The city is halfway through its first wastewater master plan update in nearly two decades and according to staff and consultants, everything is flowing right.

An update was given to the Sedona City Council during its Tuesday, Jan. 10, meeting.

The Sedona Community Plan identifies Oak Creek’s water quality as a key issue. The wastewater master plan will address this issue by looking at areas that are on septic systems to determine if those areas can be connected to the sewer collection system, thus potentially reducing one of the threats to Oak Creek’s water quality, a city report states.


The city’s wastewater collection system consists of 85 miles of gravity sewer lines, 1,950 manholes, and 17 lift stations. It covers approximately 19 square miles with 6,800 connections.

The previous update was completed in 2000. Since then, there have been significant collection system changes and reconsideration of plans to expand the system to various locations in the city.

The master plan update has a maximum budget of $200,000 with the work being done by Carollo Engineers.

The scope of work will include:

  • Development of flow projections.
  • Determination and possible revision of sewer service area boundaries.
  • Hydraulic modeling will be used to determine deficiencies within the collection system.
  • Analysis of possible efficiencies — elimination of lift stations, overflow emergency strategies for major lift stations, feasibility of removing old cluster systems.
  • Identify a capital improvement plan for recommended upgrades/major repairs.
  • Conduct public outreach such as mailings, fliers, website, public meetings.

“The outcome of these tasks will be relevant to a wastewater master plan document that the city can be use for planning efforts, future connections and additional capacity that is required in the next five to 10 years while looking at the build-out conditions,” said Eric McClusky of Carollo Engineers.

About 60 percent of the population is on the city wastewater system. For those looking to join, there is a $9,757 cost to do so. And, city code states that if you, for example, are the third or fourth house in on your street and you wish to connect to the city’s system, all the homes between the connection point and your house must do the same.

When Sedona became incorporated in 1988, state law mandated that the city provide a wastewater system for the residents. However, because of costs and logistics, 40 percent of the homes and businesses are still not on the system. As the septic tanks begin to age, city officials said that the likelihood of the tanks going bad increases. Holland said there are several ways of telling if a tank is leaking. The first is a strong odor while others include wastewater seeping out of the ground and a backup in the system within the home.

It was also pointed out that the law requires those who go from a septic system to the city system that their tanks be filled with gravel.

As the update moves forward, Carollo will continue to compile comments and questions, update the council on its progress, analyze areas of the city looking to connect, meet with smaller groups like homeowners associations and individual neighborhoods and finally host a second public meeting. The first, held a month ago, drew less than 20 people.

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