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Eye on Sedona with City Councilor Dan McIllroy


In these days of rising energy costs, if you are like I am, you are seeking ways to save money and be more efficient.  The City of Sedona is no different. The City expends approximately $160,000 per year powering the waste water treatment plant and the twenty waste water pumps that drive waste water and solids underground nine miles from the Chapel area to the waste water treatment plant.  1,000,000 to 1,200,000 gallons of wastewater are processed every day. The City owns about 400 acres of land at the waste water treatment plant.  Some of this land is planned for wetlands that will take A plus treated waste water and make a series of ponds that will become a recreation area, as well as a habitat for wildlife and birds.  These wetlands are presently under design.

To dispose of some of the excess waste water, it is currently pumped through a series of sprayers and disposed of through transpiration on the plant grounds. By installing solar panels on approximately ten acres of land, these panels will generate enough electricity to offset some of the costs of powering these effluent pumps. The City is also exploring the feasibility of injecting A plus treated wastewater into the ground. This process could also be powered by solar panels and may generate water credits at the same time.

Arizona Public Service (APS) is under a mandate from the Arizona Corporation Commission to generate fifteen percent of its power by 2025 by alternate sources of energy, such as solar, wind, geothermal, nuclear and hydroelectric.  This mandate has prompted APS to offer incentives to homeowners, commercial businesses and governmental entities to install solar panels. These incentives have encouraged some private solar providers to view our waste water treatment plant as an attractive location. Solar panels would not only help the City reduce its power requirements, they would give these solar providers a tax incentive as well.

The City is planning on inviting some solar energy providers to make a presentation to the City Council in the near future.  Through these APS incentives, these solar providers will be able to install their panels at no cost to the City and provide energy at less than the City is now paying.  At the end of twenty years, these panels will revert to City ownership further reducing our energy costs.

Sedona Red Rock High School, as part of its restoration project, recently installed a series of solar panels in cooperation with APS. These panels are now on line helping reduce the cost of energy for the school. The installation of solar panels at the waste water treatment plant will not only lessen our City’s energy costs, it will reduce our dependence on outside sources of energy and be more compatible with the environment. It may also be advisable to investigate placing solar panels on the City’s buildings on Roadrunner Drive and the parking shelter. It makes sense to me that the more we can do to reduce our energy needs, the better.

This SedonaEye.com column reflects the opinion of Sedona City Councilor Dan McIlroy and not that of the Sedona City Council.


  1. Ginger Wolstencroft says:

    City Requests Public Comment Regarding Storm Water Quality Management Program

    The City of Sedona Public Works Department is requesting public comment on the Storm Water Quality Management Program. The Program affects the entire City, including construction sites, existing developments, government agencies, and activities by residents or tourists that may result in water pollution.

    The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) requires the Program document, which is a plan identifying steps the City will take to enhance the quality of storm water draining from its stormwater system. The plan does not deal with the volume of water the system handles.

    The Storm Water Quality Management Program document was last revised by the City Council on July 22, 2008. The updated program was submitted to ADEQ on August 27, 2008, and approved September 5, 2008.

    The program document is available at the Sedona Public Library and on the City website at http://www.SedonaAZ.gov under the “Stormwater in Sedona” subject on the Public Works Department page.

    Comments may be submitted to City of Sedona Public Works Department at 102 Roadrunner Drive or by e-mail to Dpeck@SedonaAZ.gov. Comments are requested by June 10, 2011.

  2. Monsoon Season Dates says:

    2011 Monsoon Season Starting June 15–In Arizona, the Monsoon Season begins on June 15 and ends on September 30. This is the season for flash flooding. With this year’s Monsoon Season fast approaching, the City of Sedona would like to remind the public of the importance of making sure private drainages are clean and maintained. For questions related to flooding or maintenance of drainage ways in the City of Sedona, please contact David Peck with the City of Sedona Public Works Department at (928) 204-7108.

  3. Ann says:

    Red Rock HS is saving dollars after its solar installation? compared to what and when? or is this an APS smoke and mirrors program? how much emphasis is on NATURAL light, reclaimed water, desert landscaping, and solar? where are the school’s greenhouses for food production? there needs to be accountability not lip-service.

    the sierra club and sustainable arizona and ksb and the verde and a host of others need to spend less on individual group efforts and combine as one noraz regional group–the leadership of these groups alienate most after short associations–remember nsa? one green council is all that’s necessary or warranted.

  4. Chat with Sedona Mayor says:

    Please join Mayor Rob Adams on Thursday, May 12, 2011 any time between 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. Stop in and chat about your insights, thoughts, or concerns on Sedona area topics and ask your questions like those above. The event will be held at New Frontiers Natural Marketplace located at 1420 West State Route 89A, Sedona, AZ 86336. For more information, please contact the City Manager’s office at (928) 204-7127.

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