4/17/08

    The city of Española has received $500,000 in federal funding that could help restore two wells to working order.

    This is the first time the city had received funding from the Community Development Program since 1996, when $187,500 was awarded to the city for the construction of a domestic violence shelter, Grants Administrator Lupita DeHerrera said.

    The $500,000, which was awarded April 8, will be used to construct a transmission line between wells four and seven; allowing water from the two wells to be blended in an additional tank to reduce levels of fluoride, nitrates and arsenic.

    The wells are currently out of compliance with federal Environmental Protection Agency water standards.

    Water from the two wells will be carried by the transmission lines and  feed into the new tank and be blended together in order to lower the levels of contaminants in the water. Well four is located behind Española Valley High School and well seven is located in Ranchitos.

    City Water Department Director Marvin Martinez said the project design was about 80 percent complete, and the project would likely be finished in late fall or early winter. He estimated the project would cost about $1.2 million.

    Whether the entire project is completed on time could depend on another $2.58 million request pending with the state Water Trust Board.

    The Board is a 15-member entity that prioritizes water project requests and doles out money accordingly.

    The city requested $2.58 million from the Board to fund the treatment project at the two wells as well as complete a loop with its water lines along State Roads 76 and 106.

    New Mexico Finance Authority Chief of Programs Marquita Russel said the city's request for $2.58 million for water storage and conveyance ranked second on the Board's review of the project's impact.

    "There is a very good chance they will get their full funding," Russel said.

    If the city is granted its request, it will have to pull together 20 percent, or about $516,000, in matching funds and will agree to pay back 10 percent, or about $258,000, of the grant in the form of a 20-year, zero interest loan.

    City administrators will have to wait until April 23 when the Board next meets and will determine which projects receive funding.

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