Elida, Texico come to agreement with state

Argen Duncan

For Elida to continue with its water system project and Texico with its wastewater project, both communities need to submit a proposed schedule and revised budget to the state Department of Finance and Administration, showing how the work will finish by the end of the year.

Municipal and New Mexico Environment Department officials reached those arrangements during phone conferences Thursday, said NMED Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Development Division Director Karen Gallegos.

“The goal is to show that it is possible to get the project back in line with the requirements of the (Community Development Block Grant) program before this grant expires on Dec. 31, 2010,” Gallegos said in an e-mail.

Community Development Block Grants are providing large portions of the money for both communities’ projects. That money will revert back to the state if Texico and Elida don’t spend it by the end of the year.

Gallegos also said that Sept. 14, Texico City Council would discuss the possibility of applying sludge from wastewater lagoons to the wastewater treatment plant property. The city is having trouble finding a place to put the sludge, which it is required to remove as part of the process of making required improvements to the plant.

Elida’s project involves installing an arsenic treatment system, a new pump station to help the arsenic treatment system work and improve water service, and a building to house both sets of equipment.

Karen Perez, engineer for both projects, and Elida Mayor Durward Dixon have complained that the Environment Department has insisted on procedures that have slowed progress on the projects.

Gallegos said Texico and Elida hadn’t provided necessary documentation and information needed for approvals.

“Approvals are not being withheld, as we don’t have anything to approve,” she said.

Gallegos said Texico must provide a revised scope of work incorporating compliance with discharge permit regulations.

Elida must turn in a contract between the community and its consultant and plans for the project. The NMED received Elida’s request for proposals for the arsenic treatment testing, but can’t approve it without the other documents, Gallegos said.

The department has administrative responsibilities for part of the money for both projects, Gallegos said.

“Therefore, NMED has monitoring and oversight responsibilities to ensure the appropriate use of public funds,” she said.