COUNTY SNAGS $25,000 FOR CHAPARRAL WASTEWATER PLANNING INITIATIVE

COUNTY SNAGS $25,000 FOR CHAPARRAL WASTEWATER PLANNING INITIATIVE

Doña Ana County’s feasibility study for establishing a wastewater treatment plant to serve the community of Chaparral has been bolstered by an additional $25,000 in grant funding from the Border Environment Cooperation Commission (BECC), based in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.

According to Albert Racelis, the county’s assistant director of planning, the new grant supplements a $150,000 grant BECC already had committed to the project. The new funds are part of $3.7 million in new, technical-assistance grants approved March 26 by the BECC at its regional meeting in Tucson, Ariz.

The Chaparral project acknowledges the population growth in Chaparral and the fact that septic systems currently serve about 3,500 residents. Population projections in the area indicate that within 20 years, almost 10,000 residents will need access to a wastewater treatment facility.

Once the feasibility study has been completed, BECC has proposed granting $250,000 in technical assistance toward the project, which is estimated to cost $3.4 million to complete. Racelis said Doña Ana County will immediately begin searching for funding sources for the remainder of the project costs.

“Wastewater treatment projects are expensive,” Racelis said, “but it is far more expensive to try to recover and purify groundwater contaminated by septic systems and inadequate wastewater treatment facilities. With the help of the New Mexico Environment Division, BECC and the Rural Utilites Service, Doña Ana County is placing itself in a proactive position to move on projects of this kind throughout the county in a concerted effort to protect our precious groundwater resources.”