SAN TAN VALLEY — While playing at Oasis Golf Club, it might be wise to disregard the “five-second rule” when dropping things and steer clear of puddles.
The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality recently gave Johnson Utilities a notice of violation after receiving an electronic complaint that reported “big spillages on Oasis Magic Ranch golf course.” As part of its regular practice, the agency sent someone to investigate.
While ADEQ didn’t find raw sewage on the course, it did find big spillages of what is called Class B effluent. While the Pinal County utility does have a permit to irrigate with this liquid, it must ensure that it does not come into contact with people. That happened, however, when it spilled into standing water on the golf course.
This came about two weeks before raw sewage overflowed out of a manhole on a street next to the golf course on East Valley View Drive.
Reclaimed water at different treatment levels can be approved for an array of uses, from almost drinkable to suitable for irrigation of non-food crops.
“Johnson Utilities Section 11 Wastewater Treatment plant produces Class B water, which is allowed to contain a certain amount of fecal coliform bacteria,” wrote ADEQ Public Information Officer Erin Jordan. “Because of the allowed amount of bacteria in this class of water, it’s not permitted to allow direct human contact; with the standing water on the golf course, there is a significant chance that people could come in contact with the water.”
Thus ADEQ issued a notice of violation to Johnson Utilities for the incident. The complaint was received on April 25 and when the inspection was made, standing water was still visible on the course.
According to the report, after receiving a complaint on their Facebook page, maintenance staff began to take corrective action and discovered that the overflow occurred because the person in charge the previous day did not close the valve at the golf course pump station, causing the irrigation sprinkler system to run continuously. Operations Manager Matt Hipsher told ADEQ that the utility could not determine the amount of reclaimed water that overflowed.
Some of the sprinklers on the paths between tee boxes were observed to be malfunctioning and leaking effluent from the holding ponds, causing it to pool around the sprinklers.
ADEQ cites for both allowing reclaimed water in areas outside the direct reuse site and allowing pools of reclaimed water during normal periods of use.