The Authority inherited several projects from the founding entities, the Lower Rio Grande Mutual Domestic Water Association and the systems that merged with us later, and we have now begun planning, developing and building projects for the Authority as a whole and each of the communities it serves.
FY2024 – 2028 Infrastructure Capital Improvement Plan
A local infrastructure capital improvement plan (ICIP) is a plan that establishes planning priorities for anticipated capital projects. The state-coordinated ICIP process encourages entities to plan for the development of capital improvements so that they do not find themselves in emergency situations, but can plan for, fund, and develop infrastructure at a pace that sustains their activities.
Public meetings were not held in 2022 due to an earlier deadline for submission of the completed ICIP. The ICIP for FY2024-FY2028 was adopted by the Lower Rio Grande PWWA Board of Directors at its June 15, 2022 meeting. Meeting Notice & Agenda are available at https://lrgauthority.org/notices/
We are grateful for the assistance of the South Central Council of Governments for their assistance with the development and submission of our ICIP. The final ICIP can be downloaded below
Projects Under Construction
PLEASE BE SAFE AND EXERCISE CAUTION NEAR OUR CONSTRUCTION SITES. WATCH FOR FLAGMEN, DETOURS, AND LANE CLOSURES, AND PLEASE BE CAREFUL AROUND CONSTRUCTION CREWS AND EQUIPMENT.
IF YOU HAVE AN ISSUE OR COMPLAINT REGARDING ONE OF OUR PROJECTS, please do NOT interrupt the contractor’s work crew to discuss it. Contact LRGPWWA Projects Manager Karen Nichols at 575-233-5742 x1018 or by clicking the blue Contact Us button at the top right of this page, then selecting Project Inquiries/Issues. That way, your issue will be documented, sent thru the proper channels to get it resolved, and we can follow up to make sure it gets resolved.
South Valley Water Supply & Treatment Project
In December 2012, the LRGPWWA closed on NM Water Trust Board Funding for planning and design of a Surface Water Treatment Plant Project. CE&M was the engineering firm. As the planning progressed, drought conditions in the state worsened, and it became obvious that surface water would not be a reliable alternative water sources, to the planning scope was expanded to look at Brackish Groundwater Treatment. CE&M closed their business, and the project was transferred to Bohannan Huston, Inc. with CDM as sub-consultant. The final PER concluded that brackish water treatment would be prohibitively expensive and recommended that the LRGPWWA (1) construct a new well with arsenic treatment and additional storage in Berino to replace three wells that have failed in the Berino & Desert Sands area due to pumping sand, and (2) complete a Water Master Plan to incorporate existing system-wide hydraulic modeling, a well-siting study, a GIS database, and design standards and analyze existing system components and plan for future infrastructure needs. Design for the project was completed with the Water Trust Board funds.
USDA Rural Development allocated construction funding for this project and issued us a Letter of Conditions on June 12, 2019 outlining items that need to be completed and submitted to then in order to close on the funding.
The LRGPWWA worked with the South Central Council of Governments to apply for Community Development Block Grant Planning Funds and completed the Water Master Plan, and applied to USDA Rural Development for funds to construct a new well, arsenic treatment facility.
Construction of the well and arsenic treatment plant are is ongoing and scheduled for completion in September, 2022.
Central Operations Facility Project
The LRGPWWA was awarded NM Drinking Water Revolving Loan Fund funding in 2018 to design and construct a new central operations facility including office and warehouse buildings at a site we own in Vado. Wilson & Company is the architectural firm designing the project. Design was complete, the project was bid twice, and all bids exceeded available funds. NM Finance Authority was able to provide some additional funds, and Capital Outlay funds initially intended for furniture, fixtures & equipment are being used to complete the project. C&E Industrial Services, Inc. is the construction contractor.
We are constructing a modular office building to house all LRGPWWA staff in one location and metal warehouse building. The office building will include a drive-thru payment window and a board meeting room.
Mesquite-Brazito Sewer Projects 1 & 2
The Mesquite-Brazito Sewer Project was initially planned by the Mesquite MDWC & MSWA with the Brazito MDWCA. Both MDWCs are now part of the Lower Rio Grande PWWA, and we are moving forward with it. The Premliminary Engineering Report (PER) and Environmental Document were approved by NMED Construction Programs Bureau, and design funds were awarded by the NM Colonias Infrastructure Trust Fund Board in 2014. A Letter of Conditions for construction funds was issued by USDA Rural Development on 9/26/14. Letter of Conditions for Project 2 was issued on March 5, 2018.
Bid Opening for Project 1 was held on 3/28/19, 5 bids were received, and the low bidder was File Construction. On 4/17/19, the LRGPWWA Board of Directors awarded the contract for the project Base Bid to File Construction contingent upon USDA Rural Development approval, and approval has been received. Additive Alternates 1-3 were not awarded due to high bids and lack of funding to construct them, and these project components (Minter Rd. Area and Hwy 478 at Indian Rd./Carnation Rd./Memory Lane) will be moved to Project 2. Construction on Project 1 began June 17, 2019, and is complete and closed out.
Project 2 Bid Opening was January 20, 2022. Two bids were received, the lowest was from Smithco Construction, and both greatly exceeded available funds. Because of supply chain issues and escalating materials costs, the project was bid with a base bid and 6 bid alternates. The LRGPWWA applied for and received an additional $2.8 million in cost overrun funding from USDA Rural Development and awarded Smithco a contract for the base bid and two bid alternates. Thus far, funding applications have been submitted to NM Colonias Infrastructure Fund for the maximum allowable amount of $5.715 million and to Senator Heinrich for funds to complete construction of the remaining bid lots.
Project 2 Construction began on May 2, 2022, and will continue for 480 days, with completion in late August 2023. This timeframe may be updated during the project to adjust for bad weather delays and any issues with the delivery of construction materials. Connecting customers to the system will occur near the end of the project, after the main lines, manholes, and lift stations are installed. In order to be connected with the project, customers must be signed up with the connection fee paid.
Project Schedules and updates will be available here to download as a PDF
Purchase & Upgrade of Valle Del Rio
On February 29, 2016, we closed on the purchase of the Valle Del Rio Water System just east of the Rio Grande on Hwy. 28. Funding for the purchase an upgrade of this water system was from the NM Drinking Water State Revolving Loan Fund.
We welcomed nearly 100 new customers with this purchase. A Preliminary Engineering Report was prepared by Souder, Miller & Associates for some upgrades to the system, and design was complete. Morrow Enterprises, Inc. began construction on 3/12/18. This project is closed out, and we have secured funding for Phase II to replace water mains and service lines and rehab the original water storage tank. Phase II design is underway.
UPDATE 4/3/20: Phase II project was bid, and contract award to low-bidder Morrow Enterprises is pending board action on 4/15/20 and funding agency approval.
UPDATE 4/23/20: Pre-construction Conference was held on 4/22/20, and Notice to Proceed has been issued to the contractor for May 11, 2020.
UPDATE 5/11/20: Contractor will not be on-site to begin project for another couple of weeks pending approval of Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan and submittals. We will update when we have the new start date.
UPDATE 6/2/20: Construction schedule for the project is available to download below.
UPDATE 9/14/20: Morrow Enterprises, Inc. will begin the roadway reclamation starting
9/15/20 through approximately 9/18/20. Access to homes will be maintained. Please use caution near equipment & workmen.
UPDATE 7/25/22: El Paso Electric Co. is installing 3-phase power to the well & tank site, and we will be upgrading the booster skid and generator. Existing booster skid and generator will be moved to our High Valley system.
High Valley Water System Improvements
The LRGPWWA assumed the High Valley MDWCA 2018 Colonias Infrastructure Fund application when the members of High Valley elected to merge with us. Phase I of the High Valley Water System Improvements Project, rehab of the existing well is currently under construction. The LRGPWWA was awarded 2019 Colonias funding for Phase II, construction of a second well and an interconnect pipeline with Vista Del Rey MDWCA. and this project is in design. Souder, Miller & Associates is the project engineering firm for the High Valley projects.
UPDATE 9/14/20: D&J Pump & Well Service will be working on the rehab of the High Valley Well from 9/14/20 thru 9/18/20, and we are requesting that High Valley customers keep their water usage to a minimum this week to help us maintain supply to the system.
UPDATE 7/6/21: Pre-construction conference for Phase II (New Well & Interconnect w/Vista Del Rey MDWCA) Project is set for 7/8/21. Colonias Infrastructure Funds have been awarded for Phase III design and construction.
UPDATE 3/23/22: The new well is complete, construction of the well house is pending materials delivery, and the project was awarded $250,000 2022 Capital Outlay funding.
UPDATE 7/25/22: Well building is completed. We will be adding a new booster skid and backup generator from the Valle Del Rio system when the new 3-phase equipment is installed there.
Stern Drive Water Pipeline Project
The LRGPWWA was awarded $150,000 Capital Outlay Grant to extend a water pipeline along Stern Drive north of Mesquite Drive. This is a portion of our Interconnect & Looping Project. Souder, Miller & Associates is the project engineering firm. Construction is complete, and remaining funds are being used to complete design further along Stern Drive toward Brazito. Capital Outlay funds were awarded for a second phase, and that construction is nearly complete.
UPDATE 7/25/22: Phase II project is complete and closed out. We will be seeking funding for additional phases.
Water outages are an unfortunate fact of life during pipeline construction projects. Sometimes there are older lines we don’t know are even there that get broken because they weren’t marked, or lines we knew were there are not exactly where an old plan set said they were, and sometimes, it’s just an accident. Also, the water may be shut off in an area due to something like new lines being tied in to the system. If an outage is planned, we require that contractors notify the customers that will be affected.
If you call our office, we will let you know if there is an estimated time when repairs will be completed, but please be aware that construction is not an exact science this will only be an estimate. When water service is returned after an outage you may notice that the water is cloudy or brown. Once the lines have been flushed and you run the water through your system, it will clear up.
We apologize for any inconvenience, but upgrades are necessary and beneficial. The contractors’ crews and our staff do their very best to prevent outages and restore service when they happen.
If you have project questions or issues due to the construction, you can reach our Projects Manager, Karen Nichols, at 575-233-5742 ext. 1018.
Projects Being Planned & Designed
East Mesa Water System Improvements Project
In October of 2017, the LRGPWWA was awarded 2 NM Finance Authority Planning Grants for a Preliminary Engineering Report and Environmental Information Document for improvements to the Organ and Butterfield Park water systems comprising the East Mesa Service Area. Vencor Engineering has completed the planning documents recommending a 3-phase Water System Improvements Project, and we applied to NM Colonias Infrastructure for funds to complete the design of Phase I. The overall project will include a replacement well, a large central storage tank with looped transmission lines, some looping of dead-end lines, additional Hwy. 70 crossings interconnecting the two systems, and replacement of older, small diameter lines in Butterfield Park to relocate main water lines out of alleyways.
Closing documents for Colonias funding for Phase I design were adopted by the board on July 17, 2019, and an engineering services agreement with Vencor Engineering, LLC was approved by the board and submitted to NMED Construction Programs Bureau for their approval. Vencor then notified of closing their business, and we moved forward with selection of the second-ranked firm from the Request For Proposals. A contract with D.B. Stephens & Associates was approved by NMED Construction Programs Bureau, and design has been approved. Colonias funding for Phase II design has been awarded, closing is pending. Phase I construction funding is #1 on the NM Fundable Priority List for Drinking Water State Revolving Loan funds, and application to NM Finance Authority for that funding is pending.
System-Wide Information Technology Project
The System-wide Information Technology Project was initiated by the Lower Rio Grande PWWA. Some components of this project have been accomplished in conjunction with our ongoing construction projects. For example, funds from the La Mesa Building Project were used to create a wireless intranet system between our offices and install a centralized VOIP phone system, and various water system improvements projects have included some SCADA components. We are grateful to our state legislators for allocating 2013 Capital Outlay funds to this project. That funding was used to upgrade our billing and accounting software. 2014 Capital Outlay was used to purchase and integrate additional SCADA into our existing systems. 2016 Capital Outlay funds were used to complete our SCADA system for the water utility and to purchase rugged laptops or tablets for Operations Staff to be able to interface with our new software out in the field.
In 2019, we were awarded $50,000 in Capital Outlay funding for software & hardware to update our radio-read system. That project has been completed.
Berino/Mesquite-Del Cerro Water System Improvement Project - Complete
In 2011, the LRGPWWA Berino/Mesquite-Del Cerro Water System Improvement Project was awarded funding by the New Mexico Water Trust Board and USDA Rural Development at a total of $9.8 million. The partnership with these two funding agencies is making it possible for us to leverage state & federal funds for maximum efficiency and benefits to our communities, and is providing full funding for the project so that it will not have to be built over a longer time-frame in smaller phases.
The Berino piece of the project was initiated by Berino MDWC & MSWA with the Vencor Engineering, and it will include the installation of a large diameter pipeline interconnect to Berino to eliminate the use of a well that violates drinking water standards for arsenic in addition to upgrades to the distribution system to replace aging and inadequate pipelines.
The Mesquite-Del Cerro piece of the project was initiated by Mesquite MDWC & MSWA with Vencor Engineering, and it will upgrade the water distribution system in the Del Cerro community by replacing aging and inadequate pipelines.
These two projects were combined near the end of the planning phase at the request of USDA Rural Development in response to our merger. We have closed on the Water Trust Board and USDA RD funding, and the project is under construction with a completion date in mid-February of 2016. See our Blog page for construction updates.
Waterline Extension Project
The Waterline Extension Project was initiated in response to requests for water service connections from residents along Hwy 28 near Veterans Road and in the Bosque are of west Berino. Funds from the NM Colonias Infrastructure Trust Funds will be used to design and build lines in the Veterans Road area and in other parts of west Berino. Parkhill, Smith & Cooper is the engineering firm for the NM CITF funded project. This project is complete and closed-out.
2014 Capital Outlay funding was added to the Berino/Mesquite-Del Cerro Water System Improvements Project for some of the new lines in Berino, and these have been completed. Vencor was the engineering firm on the BMDC project, and Smithco was the contractor.
How many times have you heard the statement, “They just paved that street, and now they are tearing it up again”? Unfortunately, in the utility industry it is not a rare occurrence.
We have been faced with this appalling potential situation twice, and we are delighted to report that we have been able to prevent it from happening in both instances.
Thanks to communication, coordination, collaboration and cooperation with and between three different engineering firms, two contractors, three funding agencies, the county Engineering Department and NMDOT, and a lot of effort on everyone’s part, we have been able to install water pipeline “stub-outs” across a number of streets in Berino and Mesquite before they were paved in order to avoid tearing up new pavement when our Berino/Mesquite-Del Cerro Water System Improvements Project begins construction.
How cool is that?
Organ Water & Wastewater Project
The Organ Water & Wastewater Project was initiated by the Organ Water & Sewer Association Board of Directors with the engineering firm of Bohannan Huston, Inc. Contractor is Morrow Enterprises. The project was funded by USDA Rural Development, and it included rehab of the existing wastewater lagoon system and replacement of aging and inadequate water lines in Organ, Mountainview and Tierra Alta. The project also included a new booster pumping station and some SCADA components. The many new valves installed with the project allow our Operations staff to better isolate smaller areas of the system when there are line breaks or other work on the lines so that few customers are affected by outages. We were able to add 42 fire hydrants to the system with this project as well.
This project involved a tremendous amount of potholing to try and locate existing water lines, and still resulted in many water outages. We truly appreciate the patience of our Organ customers with the inconveniences caused by the construction.
Radio Read Meter Project
The Radio-Read Meter Project was initiated by Vado MDWCA, and the current phase was the first project initiated by the Lower Rio Grande Public Water Works Authority. This project will replace the majority of the meters in the LRGPWWA system with radio-read meters resulting in greatly reduced fuel and vehicle expenses and staff time for meter reading. Funding for the project is from the New Mexico Drinking Water State Revolving Loan Fund administered by the New Mexico Finance Authority and will be used only for purchasing meters. The engineering firm for this project is Wilson & Company, and meter installations are being performed by LRGPWWA staff beginning in May 2013.
Mesquite Waste Water Project
The Mesquite Wastewater Project was initiated by Mesquite MDWC & MSWA with the engineering firm Gannett Fleming West and funding from USDA Rural Development. This project replaced the existing small diameter pressurized system with a gravity sewer system including a number of small lift stations that discharge to the Dona Ana County collection system and treatment plant in Vado instead of the old Mesquite wetlands treatment facility. Construction began in mid-May 2012 and the project was closed out in March of 2015. The contractor for this project was Layne Southwest.
Additional funds were awarded to this project by the Colonias Infrastructure Trust Fund Board so that all remaining bid lots could be constructed and all existing Mesquite sewer customers included in the project.
La Mesa Well Project
The La Mesa Well Project was initiated by the La Mesa MDWCA with the engineering firm Molzen Corbin Associates. It added a well and storage tank up on the west mesa with distribution pipeline looping back to the existing system. The construction contract was awarded to Burn Construction, and construction began in mid-August 2012 and was completed September 2013 including some water pipeline stub-outs in Mesquite that were added to the project.
Alto de Las Flores Emergency Back-up Water Interconnect Project
The Alto de Las Flores Emergency Back-up Water Interconnect Project was completed in early April 2013. The interconnection was requested by the Alto de Las Flores MDWCA in order to provide water service to the community of San Miguel in the event of a well failure or other emergency within their system. The project engineering firm was Vencor Engineering, LLC, and the contractor was Rio Services. Funding was provided by the New Mexico Colonias Initiative.
La Mesa Office Building Project
The La Mesa Office Building Project was funded by the State of New Mexico Capital Outlay and Colonias Initative. It was completed on May 4, 2012, and the building now houses our Operations & Meter Reading Staff and Customer Service Specialist.
Jacquez Road Line Extension Project
Jacquez Road was omitted from our recent Waterline Extension Project funded by NM Colonias Infrastructure Fund due to difficulty in obtaining an easement. The LRGPWWA was awarded $50,000 Capital Outlay in 2018 for the project and an additional Colonias Infrastructure Fund award in 2019. The easement has been obtained, and the project was bid. Low bidder was J29 Construction, and construction is set to begin on Tuesday, January 28, 2020. You may download a PDF version of the Construction Schedule by clicking the link below. As always, we urge residents living near the construction zone to use caution around crews and equipment to keep everyone safe.
Project is complete and closed out.
Other Notices & Images
La Mesa Building – Art In Public Places
Our new office building in La Mesa was completed in May 2012. Because it was built with State funds, a percentage of the funding went to the NM Dept. of Cultural Affairs New Mexico Art In Public Places Program to purchase art for the building. We are delighted to announce the selection of “Adobe Shadow Dance” by Michelle Jackson. The piece has been installed in the Community Room of our La Mesa Office. Please feel free to stop by and enjoy it.
Categorical Exclusion Under National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)
The New Mexico Finance Authority has conducted a review of the proposed LRGPWWA Meter Replacement Project in accordance with NEPA and the NM State Environmental Re- view Process (SERP) for the State Drinking Wa- ter Revolving Loan Fund and has determined that the project is eligible for a Categorical Exclusion and therefore exempt from further substantive environmental review requirements. Download the document below in PDF format for details.