Something fishy is afoot at old wastewater plant

A selection of Jamaican tilapia for sale in a British supermarket. (Photo by Kevin Fitzsimmons)
A selection of Jamaican tilapia for sale in a British supermarket. (Photo by Kevin Fitzsimmons)

There's something fishy going on at the old Roger Road sewage treatment plant, or at least there could be if Pima County and UA can agree on a deal that would net taxpayers millions of dollars.

A proposal from researchers in the University of Arizona's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences suggests transforming the decommissioned wastewater treatment plant into a state-of-the-art research station that would become a fish hatchery, farming tilapia, striped bass and eels.

The county currently has $32 million budgeted for the demolition of the treatment plant, which was built in the 1950s.

UA professor Kevin Fitzsimmons, who worked on the nine-page proposal, envisions a public-private partnership between the university and private commercial groups. It would be a pact to grow fish as well as possibly omega-3-oil-rich algae in the concrete holding tanks, rent out the old administration building as office space to the Audubon Society, create organic fertilizers from fish waste, grow small amounts of produce as well as provide a place to conduct groundbreaking research into practical uses for reclaimed water.

Read the rest of this July 13 Arizona Daily Star article at the link below.

Watch KVOA news coverage of this story at this link: http://www.kvoa.com/player/?video_id=15067.

Date released: 
Jul 25 2013
Contact: 
Kevin Fitzsimmons