Peralta continues to look at wastewater system options

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Peralta town officials are undecided about what the town's proposed wastewater system will look like after recently spending time sorting out priorities of a system that will eventually tie into the sewage treatment plant of the village of Bosque Farms.

CDM Smith, an Albuquerque consulting and engineering company, laid out four possible options that included a gravity collection system, grinder pump, vacuum and septic tank effluent pumping system earlier this month.

Ideally, the sewer system would match-up with grinder pumps that Bosque Farms currently uses where waste is ground down and sent to the treatment plant.

The project is estimated to cost $7 to $13 million, and would likely be done in phases.

"We really haven't made any decisions since then," said Peralta Town Clerk Julie Pluemer. "It's such a big project."

But Councilor Joseph Romero said a finalized priority list needs to get completed so CDM engineers can recommend the best fit for Peralta.

Councilors listed groundwater protection, overall cost and maintenance and operational costs among the top priorities for the project.

Romero said the future system should suit the town's needs for the coming decades.

"That's all the stuff that we are going to be stuck paying for the next 30-plus years," Romero said.

Kelly Collins of CDM said the village of Bosque Farms could be working on a rate structure for the residents of Peralta based on their needs. She said Peralta officials need to figure out why they are selecting a particular option.

A preliminary engineering report can be completed once a final list is sent to the company. The town can go after grant money once that report is completed.

Collins said officials need to be aware of several variables, including long-term maintenance costs and durability.

Councilor Tracy Aragon said affordable systems are important for residents of Peralta.

"We don't want to put in a system that someone can't afford to keep," Aragon said.

Bosque Farms Mayor Bob Knowlton said the village could handle similar grinder pumps or a septic tank effluent system that could be hooked up to the municipality's current system.

He said Peralta should have to help pay for upgrades to the current system that would allow the village to increase the system's capacity.

That cost is expected to be figured into the rate structure. Those rates have not yet been determined.

The grinder pumps eventually will require maintenance — something employees in Bosque Farms do on a regular basis.

Knowlton said officials in Corrales found that septic tank effluent pumping system, the least expensive option, comes with monthly filter maintenance. That system removes solids from the existing septic tanks and would use low pressure to pump wastewater to the treatment plant.

He said the two communities could go after funding as part of a regional project.

Romero said the Peralta system must work well with the current Bosque Farms set-up.

"It needs to be something Bosque Farms can operate OK and fits with the current system," he said.


-- Email the author at bruffner@news-bulletin.com.