Marana has offered to settle its remaining litigation with Pima County regarding wastewater treatment, specifically to determine ownership of the Marana Wastewater Treatment Facility.
To this point, the town "what it went after, what it sought in litigation, our quest to manage our water resource, and authority to operate our own wastewater system," Town Manager Gilbert Davidson said Thursday.
Now, in a May 5 letter to attorneys representing the county, Marana wants to resolve outstanding issues regarding the Marana Wastewater Treatment Facility, a small-volume treatment facility in the northern part of the community. An attorney for Pima County did not return a phone call as of Tuesday morning.
In the offer, Marana suggests Pima County retain ownership and operation of the north Marana plant. The town would void a 2007 ordinance with which it attempted to annex the plant. Pima County responded to the Trico Marana revised annexation by designating the treatment plant as a public park, nullifying Marana's annexation.
Marana would keep the legal right to divert Marana-originating wastewater flows from the treatment plant "to another plant at any time without compensation to Pima County," according to the letter from Town Attorney Frank Cassidy.
"We can't be held to sending along Marana wastewater to that plant," Davidson elaborated Thursday.
Until Marana builds and operates its own wastewater treatment facility, Pima County would operate the conveyance system flowing into the Marana Wastewater Treatment Facility, and all customers would be Pima County customers, the settlement proposal continues. Pima County should charge those customers in Marana "the same rates, fees and charges (including connection fees) as those charged throughout the rest of Pima County's wastewater system," the offer requests.
When Marana builds a new plant, title to all conveyance systems within the town limits that connect to it would transfer to Marana, and those customers would become Marana customers, the proposal suggests. Any new customers sending wastewater to the new plant would be Marana customers, it adds.
Marana's lawsuit to assert its ability to run a wastewater treatment system "gives Marana options … to manage all our water resources," Davidson said. The town wants control over wastewater so it can gain control over treated effluent. It intends to produce "the highest quality water" it can to "put into the aquifer, or utilize in public space" for irrigation, he said.
"The judges have reinforced our ability to have options for the future," Davidson said. "We can now start planning for the future.
"We're trying to bring this to a positive resolution on all parts," Davidson said. "Marana has always been committed to trying to resolve this, to keep Marana whole, and we want to make the county whole, too."