San Pablo, N.M., has received certification and grant funding for a wastewater treatment project.

Certification was obtained last week from the Border Environmental Cooperation Commission (BECC), with construction funding committed by the North American Development Bank (NADB) through its EPA-funded Border Environment Infrastructure Fund (BEIF).

The San Pablo Mutual Domestic Water and Wastewater Consumers Association will receive a total of $1.26 million in BEIF construction and transition assistance to help finance the construction of a sewer system that will provide the entire community with first-time access to centralized wastewater collection and treatment services.

Currently, residents must dispose of sewage in on-site sanitary systems, such as septic tanks and cesspools, which in many cases are failing and are contaminating the groundwater.

The $3 million project entails constructing a gravity and vacuum sewer system, including 250 residential hookups, which will be connected by force main to a treatment plant in Las Cruces. Once the new infrastructure is completed and in operation, San Pablo residents will not only enjoy a healthier environment, they will also see a significant savings in household expenses by eliminating the need for frequent septic tank pumping.

Other sources of funding for the project include grants from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development (USDA-RD) and the State of New Mexico, as well as a loan from the New Mexico Environment Department (NMED). The BECC is also providing grant funds for final design.

The project was one of three certified by the BECC during its June 28 public board meeting in Tijuana, Baja California.

Established in 1997, the BEIF is a grant program administered by the NADB to fund and facilitate environmental infrastructure projects throughout the U.S.-Mexico border region. EPA provided an initial contribution of $170 million for water and wastewater projects with an additional $166 million added to the fund by EPA in the past three years. More than $356 million in BEIF assistance has been approved to date.

For more information, call county Public Information Director Jess Williams at (505) 647-7229. Residents calling from outside the Las Cruces area may call toll-free at 1-877-827-7200 and request extension 7229.