WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) and Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.) are welcoming investments from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (UDSA) to rural drinking water and wastewater infrastructure for Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo, the Pueblo of San Ildefonso, and the City of Belen.
USDA is financing the projects through the Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant Program to help eliminate outdated pipes and service lines to safeguard public health and safety in rural communities.
“Access to clean drinking water is a human right. We must do all we can to provide safe and reliable water and wastewater solutions in regions with limited resources,” said Heinrich. “I’m proud to support this funding and will continue fighting for major investments in water infrastructure for rural and Tribal communities across New Mexico.”
“Investments in clean drinking water and essential wastewater services are crucial for the health and well-being of New Mexicans,” said Luján. “I’m glad that this funding will go toward water and wastewater infrastructure in rural and Tribal communities, and I’ll continue working to secure investments in water projects across the state.”
The Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo is receiving a $610,000 loan and a $1.6 million grant to build a wastewater treatment plant on Pueblo lands in Rio Arriba County. This project will help expand water treatment from 235,000 to 350,000 gallons per day and extend services to Pueblo residents who are not currently connected. These improvements will benefit 1,143 residents.
The Pueblo of San Ildefonso is receiving a $1.9 million grant to build and extend sewer services in north central New Mexico. These services will provide additional connections for 34 homes and will add five additional connections for Tribal facilities in the Pueblo Center and the Pueblo South area. The funds will be used to demolish and lay new sewer lines, including cleanouts access to eliminate the health and sanitary concerns.
The City of Belen is receiving a $409,000 loan and a $580,000 grant to build an Arsenic Water Treatment Facility to treat water from well number 8. Well number 8 currently contains water that exceeds drinking standards for arsenic set by the Environmental Protect Agency (EPA) and the State of New Mexico drinking water standards. Therefore, by building the facility to treat the water to lower the arsenic it will remove the health and sanitary issue and bring the city of Belen water back to required drinking water standards.
The Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant Program provides funding for clean and reliable drinking water systems, sanitary sewage disposal, sanitary solid waste disposal, and storm water drainage. The program serves households and businesses in eligible rural areas with populations of 10,000 or less.