The Wastewater Plant’s responsibilities are to treat domestic and industrial wastewater to EPA and NMED (New Mexico Environmental Department) standards. These standards were created under the Clean Water Act of 1974.
Water is treated using a biological process. The treated water is then used by farmers to irrigate their crops during the growing season. In the winter, treated water is discharged to the Hondo River which joins the Pecos River and is sent down stream to the Rio Grande.
The sewer crew maintains over 200 miles of gravity flow sewer lines and four lift stations. On a daily basis they are stripping and cleaning sewer lines and manholes. Employees also respond to customer complaints for stop ups and sewer odors.
On a daily basis the lab employees test the wastewater as it is processed to ensure that treated water meets the standards set by the EPA and NMED. On a monthly basis 60 samples of drinking water are pulled and tested to test for no Total Coliform or E.Coli in the drinking water. These tests are done to ensure water is safe to consume. NMED also requires quarterly samples that tests to make sure certain chemicals are not in the drinking water.
Pre-treatment employees issue and inspect restaurants and industrial businesses in order to monitor the water that is being discharged into the city sewer lines. They issue permits and test the septic hauler loads that dump their tanks at the WWTP (Wastewater Treatment Plant). Dental offices and local hospitals within city limits are also monitored. They also handle all billing for customers on the pre-treatment program. This program is mandated by the EPA.