AZTEC — For the 60 or more residents and businesses in and around Aztec who rely on the Bulk Water Station for their water, the first few weeks of December will be on the dry side. Starting Dec. 3, the water station, located on Navajo Dam Road, will shut down for up to two weeks for upgrades and repairs.

The rehabilitation work is part of the recently approved fiscal year 2013 budget, which included a budget request to rebuild Bulk Water Station. The station experienced three or four outages — one that lasted more than a week while the city waited for a part — in the last year. The renovation and repair work should improve its reliability.

"We are replacing all the control systems, the electronics, the keypads, and the computers," said Mike Huber, Aztec city engineer and public works director. "It will be comprehensive, software and hardware both."

Accomplishing the task should take no longer than the scheduled two weeks, Huber said. The construction project could wrap up before the official Dec. 17 completion date.

"The two weeks gives us enough of a cushion to complete the work," Huber said. "And to tackle any unforeseen complications should those arise."

In the interim, the city will provide an RV fill station, situated in front of City Hall, so bulk-water customers can obtain potable water, Huber said.

The San Juan County residents and businesses that rely on the station for bulk water needs will receive new access codes to use when they return to fill their tanks once the work is completed, according to the city's Utilities Director, Delaine George.

"We will be sending out billing early this cycle with new access codes and closure information on the 28th — normally they would go out on Dec. 1 — to give them added time to make the adjustment," George said.

Half of those customers are residents; the other half is businesses, like Triple-S Trucking.

Located at 900 S. Main St., the company uses water from the Bulk Station primarily for drilling services — oil well drilling and hydraulic fracturing — as well as various well-servicing operations.

"If we need the water during the closure," Nate Atcitty, general manager for Triple S's water department, said, "we will use the city of Bloomfield's Basin Disposal station."

Basin Disposal, 200 Montana Ave., provides water and air among other services to the oil and gas industry. "Water from them is the same price," Atcitty said.

Residents use the Bulk Water Station primarily for livestock, though some whose wells are contaminated store water from the station in above ground holding tanks.

Information on the closure will be posted at the station until construction begins, Huber said.

"We are excited to have an up-to-date system that can provide our bulk-water customers a reliable and efficient source of water," Huber said.

For more information on the Bulk Water Station closure, call 505-334-7670 or visit the city's website at aztecnm.gov.