West Valley farmers fight APS attempt to take water for nuclear plant

Buckeye farmland

By Ryan Randazzo | Arizona Republic

Arizona Public Service Co. has applied to pump “poor-quality” groundwater from the West Valley that the company says Buckeye farmers are wasting. But the farmers say the water is neither poor nor wasted.

APS wants to take some of the high-saline water from underground and test whether it is cost effective to use at the Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station about 50 miles west of Phoenix.

Unlike most nuclear facilities that use river or seawater to cool the reactors, Palo Verde uses treated effluent water.

Right now, it gets all of its water from the 91st Avenue Wastewater Treatment Plant. But the cost of that treated effluent water is going to increase over time, so the plant is seeking alternatives.

“If we don’t get some kind of innovative approach to water, 20 or 30 years down the road, the costs would just be prohibitive,” said Jack Cadogan, senior vice president of site operations at Palo Verde for APS. “We’ve always known we would be looking for innovative, cost-effective solutions for water.”

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