RESIDENTS OF DONA ANA REQUIRED TO ARRANGE FOR NEW WASTEWATER HOOK-UPS

RESIDENTS OF DONA ANA REQUIRED TO ARRANGE FOR NEW WASTEWATER HOOK-UPS

Phase I of Dona Ana County’s wastewater hook-up project for the village of Dona Ana has received the approval of the Rural Utilities Service, which means all residents with homes located within 300 feet of newly installed wastewater hook-up stubs are now required to shut down their individual septic systems and connect to municipal wastewater services through the City of Las Cruces. Applications will be accepted beginning Wednesday, Sept. 23.
Albert Racelis, the county’s assistant director of Planning and Community Development, said about 315 homes in the area will be affected, with nearly 300 more homes planned to come on line in the next several months. County Manager Fernando Macias hailed the move as a sign of increased regional cooperation in meeting common challenges, similar to wastewater systems being designed and implemented in Berino and Chamberino/La Union.
Racelis said each homeowner will have to pay a $100 hook-up fee and hire a licensed plumber to perform the work. He estimated most hook-up lines will extend about 50 feet to the nearest outlet and the total cost per home should average about $800.
Those costs would have been as high as $2,200 per connection, he said, if not for a state appropriation of $180,000 (secured by state Sen. Mary Jane Garcia and Rep. William Porter, with support from Macias) that is being used to offset connection fees. Residents who dispose of less than 5,000 gallons of wastewater each month can expect an average monthly treatment bill of $16.55, Racelis said.
Households who meet minimum income eligibility may also apply for funding assistance through the Rural Housing Service and the Paseo del Norte Foundation of El Paso. Applications for financial assistance will be available from the Doña Ana Mutual Water Association.
Under the county’s agreement with the Las Cruces wastewater treatment facility, all residents within 300 feet of a line outlet are required to hook up to the centralized system and then remove or sand-fill their old septic systems. Some consideration, Racelis said, will be given to individual hardship cases, but all residents are required to fill out the application forms before a determination of hardship can be made.
The most obvious advantage of the centralized system, he said, is the reduced threat to groundwater in the area. But he said that improving the village’s infrastructure and preparing for future growth also is a consideration by planners.
Affected residents will begin the process of conversion from septic systems to the centralized wastewater treatment system reasonably soon after the applications are reviewed, Racelis said, adding that each resident must tender the $100-per-household application fee at the Dona Ana Mutual Water Association’s administrative offices, located at 5535 Ledesma Drive in Dona Ana. Subsequently, they must contract the services of a licensed plumber to secure the new hook up and disable or remove the old septic system.
For more information, call Jenny Segura at the Dona Ana Mutual Water Association at 526-3491.