Deal shifting water system assets is being finalized

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FARMINGTON — The New Mexico Public Regulation Commission will hear an update on the transfer of AV Water Co. assets in the Harvest Gold subdivision to the Apple Orchard Mutual Domestic Water Consumers Association during its weekly meeting at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday in Santa Fe.

PRC meetings are streamed live online at nmprc.state.nm.us.

Ammon Burton, Apple Orchard's board president, said the board is waiting on a signature from AV Water on the transfer agreement. The Apple Orchard board will meet at 7 p.m. Wednesday at 11 County Road 4906.

The transfer agreement states that Apple Orchard will pay $1 to acquire the assets.

AV Water attorney Germaine Chappelle said the company is working on finalizing the agreement that will provide Apple Orchard with some money for operating expenses. Chappelle said she expects the transfer agreement to be signed this week.

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The Harvest Gold subdivision has been on a boil-water advisory for more than a year after the water tested high for turbidity during a New Mexico Environment Department inspection. The transfer will allow residents to own their water system. Each property owner will pay a $1,000 membership fee per meter, which will give the member voting rights in the association.

Because the system no longer will be privately owned, state money will be available to use on an interconnection between Harvest Gold and the city of Bloomfield's water system, as well as other system repairs and upgrades.

While the transfer will furnish Apple Orchard with some operating money, bottled water deliveries to Harvest Gold residents from the Cascade Bottled Water Co. that were mandated by the PRC will stop once the transfer takes place.

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Burton said Apple Orchard will be eligible for emergency services from the San Juan County of Emergency Management. AV Water is not eligible for emergency services because of the state's anti-donation clause.

The construction of an interconnection likely will take several months and will be followed by the flushing of lines throughout the system. The New Mexico Environment Department will lift the boil-water advisory once samples taken following a flush meet drinking water standards.

Hannah Grover covers government for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652.

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