WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has awarded a grant of $8.03 million and approved a loan of $6.2 million, totaling more than $14 million, for two unincorporated colonias in Doña Ana County. The funding will help the Lower Rio Grande Public Water Works Authority to renovate the wastewater system that serves the residents of Mesquite and Brazito. The funds would be used to make necessary wastewater system improvements that will eliminate the use of hundreds of septic tanks and benefit the residents of Doña Ana County for years to come.
“Improving water and wastewater infrastructure in rural communities, like Mesquite and Brazito, is an ongoing priority. This federal investment will expand wastewater services in the region, protect our precious groundwater, and benefit residents throughout the area," Udall said. “For decades, the USDA and its water infrastructure program has been a vital funding source for rural development in New Mexico, and as a member of the subcommittee that oversees its funding, I will keep fighting to see that investments in New Mexico's rural communities continue into the future.”
“Access to clean drinking water and safe sewer systems are essential to public health and wellness,” Heinrich said. “This funding will help modernize wastewater infrastructure in Mesquite and Brazito and build more resilient rural economies along our southern border. I will continue to fight for resources that support New Mexico’s infrastructure and rural development.”
This USDA Rural Development investment will be used to fund the second phase of the Lower Rio Grande Public Water Works Authority's Mesquite/Brazito Sewer System Improvements Project. In addition to the $8.03 million Colonia Grant and loan of $6.2 million, the project was approved in conjunction with $54,800 in connection fees for a total project cost of $14,273,800. According to the USDA, the project will develop connections to the sewer system that will eliminate the use of septic tanks and reduce the possibility of groundwater pollution and contamination. The improvements will benefit the 1,088 residential and 20 commercial users within the two communities. Additional information is available here.