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Sunland Park and Mesilla to benefit from water infrastructure projects

Posted on August 07, 2017

Sunland Park and Mesilla to benefit from water infrastructure projects

The communities of Sunland Park and Mesilla, in Dona Ana County, New Mexico, have received US$9.7 million in grants from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency´s (EPA) Border Environmental Infrastructure Fund (BEIF) and the funds are being invested in the construction of a Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) in Sunland Park and a water system improvement project in Mesilla.

In ceremonies held on July 11, Alex Hinojosa, Acting Managing Director of the North American Development Bank (NADB), broke ground to kick of the construction of the Sunland Park project and presided over the ribbon-cutting commemorating the completion of the project in Mesilla.

Maria Elena Giner, General Manager of the Border Environment Cooperation Commission (BECC); Brent Westmoreland, Executive Director of the Camino Real Rural Utility Authority (CRRUA); Claudia Hosch, from Region 6 of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA); as well as representatives from the local offices of U.S. Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich for New Mexico, also presided over the groundbreaking ceremony of the Sunland Park WWTP, which will replace the old North facility built in the 1970s and will treat 1 million gallons a day (mgd) of wastewater, benefitting more than 6,000 local residents.

CRRUA' s Board chair, Josh Orozco, stressed the importance of finally being able to provide adequate wastewater treatment capacity in the community. He said this new plant "will not only allow more homes and more businesses to be helped, but will also improve the health of our community.”

CRRUA is receiving a US$9 million grant from EPA through the Border Environment Infrastructure Fund (BEIF) administered by NADB for the WWTP, as well as US$85,000 in technical assistance from the Project Development Assistance Program (PDAP) also from EPA, administered by BECC for an asset management study, which is expected to help the utility optimize its current assets. These funds are in addition to the more than US$680,000 provided to the community to support the planning, environmental review and final design for the project. 

“As CRRUA works to replace the aging wastewater treatment plant and lessen risks to the environment and public health, this grant will support the utility’s efforts to modernize and plan for the future,” Senator Tom Udall said in a message.

Subsequently, at the ceremony in Mesilla, Mayor Nora L. Barraza presided over the ribbon-cutting ceremony to mark the completion of water system improvements benefitting more than 1,450 residents of the community.

The US$$761,646 project, which received a US$698,115 BEIF grant, consisted of the construction of three separate water lines that will add looping to improve the distribution system and serve new hookups.

“These smart investments in our border communities improve public health, strengthen the community, and contribute to long term economic development,” said Senator Martin Heinrich in a message. He congratulated the project sponsors for these actions.

The New Mexico Environment Department, represented at both ceremonies by Steven Deal, also provided grant funding to support the Mesilla project that was certified by the NADB-BECC Board of Directors in November 2015.

“These projects will allow these communities to meet current and future demand generated by urban development in this region,” stated Alex Hinojosa. “They would not have been possible without the support of EPA, the State of New Mexico and Senators Udall and Heinrich, who have appropriated funds for priority water and wastewater infrastructure for communities along the U.S.-Mexico border,” he said.

Claudia Hosch, who also attended both ceremonies, thanked the members of the CRRUA Board “for working with EPA in a job well done.” She said the Sunland Park WWTP “will provide better capacity, additional treatment for the surrounding areas, and will protect water quality.” She also mentioned that the plant will have a positive impact on the economic development of this community and added: “that is why we are very proud.” She thanked the state of New Mexico for being part of the financing of this project.

Finally, Alex Hinojosa stated: “We are in the process of merging with our sister organization, the BECC, and we have been working together for the last 21 years.” He said “there has been great collaboration during this time, throughout the U.S.-Mexico border, from Tijuana-San Diego to Matamoros-Brownsville.” He highlighted the work in New Mexico with 13 projects in communities such as Anthony, Lordsburg, Columbus, La Union and Las Cruces, with major results for those communities, primarily with water and wastewater projects.

For video of the event, please click here.




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