Tempe Breaks Ground on New Water Testing Lab

By Andrew Bernier
Published: Friday, December 12, 2014 - 7:09am
Updated: Friday, December 12, 2014 - 7:10am
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(Photo Courtesy of Melissa Quillard - City of Tempe)
Massive underground infiltration galleries located under the site’s future parking lot will retain all runoff with no wasted space, one of the site’s LEED certification features.

A new water testing facility in Tempe will improve operations for safely ensuring residents’ tap water. Not only does the lab now have room to expand, but may be a model for future labs as well.

The city of Tempe is now underway with building a new water testing facility to sample the surface water brought to its treatment plants. While there’s been no problem with prior testing, water chemists were simply running out of space for increased testing required by new regulations and new local industries.

“We’re a growing tortoise who’s filled up its shell and we just need a large one,” said David McNeil, the environmental services manager for Tempe.

“It’s created some inefficiencies in process that don’t allow us to best move and analyze samples and results around the facility and around the utility,” McNeil said.

With the new space, water chemists will be able to do more tests with a quicker turnaround time by not having to outsource much of the testing, saving money in the long run.

The new facility will not only test water, but will save it too. Expected to receive green building certification, the building will capture storm water for recycling and landscaping use.

The estimated cost of the lab is expected to be $4.5 million.