Low water pressure and outages continue in Harvest Gold

Work continues on new connection between subdivision and Bloomfield

Hannah Grover
Farmington Daily Times
A sign posted near the entrance to the Harvest Gold subdivision Tuesday lets residents know that there will be water outages while Bloomfield workers install water infrastructure.
  • Pumps will be installed on the Harvest Gold pond to prevent outages and improve water pressure.
  • A water tank will be delivered to Harvest Gold so residents can refill jugs, according to the Apple Orchard board president.

FARMINGTON — Residents of the Harvest Gold subdivision continue to face low water pressure and frequent outages.

The subdivision east of Bloomfield has been on a boil-water advisory for about 430 days.

"This has been tough for everyone," said Ammon Burton, the president of Apple Orchard Mutual Domestic Water Consumers Association, the community-based water organization that is taking over the troubled Harvest Gold water system assets from AV Water Co. 

On Tuesday, Bloomfield crews had to empty the waterlines while working on a new connection between the city and the subdivision. The connection is expected to provide Harvest Gold with clean water, which it hasn't had in more than a year. Residents were without water throughout the day.

More:A year later, still no clean water

"We don't have a very big pump station," Burton said.

Burton said it took a while for the pumps to refill the tanks. He said that his house tends to get water earlier than some other parts of the neighborhood.

This morning, Burton noticed improved water pressure at his house. He said the rest of the subdivision should see improved water pressure over the course of the day.

"I feel bad when everyone else is out of water, and there's nothing I can do about it," Burton said. 

During the work Tuesday, a small waterline was broken. That caused water to spill onto the ground rather than reach the water storage tank. Burton said that waterline has been repaired.

More:PRC approves transfer of Harvest Gold water system

The San Juan County Office of Emergency Management also has purchased two new pumps for the pond. Burton said when crews went to install the pumps, they discovered that the old pump is stuck in the mud at the bottom of the pond. He said a cable will need to be attached to the pump to pull it out of the mud.

County emergency manager Mike Mestas said a boom lift, which will reach over the pond, may be available Friday to pull the old pump out and install the new ones. Otherwise, Burton said he will find a way of getting cables attached to the old pumps.

Mestas emphasized that the boil-water advisory remains in effect. Tap water should only be used for appliances, and residents should use bottled drinking water provided through the Cascade Bottled Water Co., as well as donations from the community. People are still being encouraged to donate water at McGee Park for the office of emergency management to deliver to Harvest Gold.

More:Construction begins on Harvest Gold-Bloomfield connection

In addition, the county has arranged for a water tank to be delivered to Harvest Gold in the upcoming weeks, Burton said. That will allow residents to fill jugs and get water for their pets until the boil-water advisory is lifted. 

"It's going to get better," Burton said.

Another water system that was owned by AV Water was on a boil-water advisory until a connection with Farmington was built. That system, Morningstar, is still owned by AV Water, but it is operated by a receiver who was chosen by Stonetown Animas Lending, a company that loaned AV Water money a few years ago and was not paid. 

On the Morningstar side, Stonetown has filed a motion for a summary judgment in district court in regard to a lawsuit it filed in January after AV Water defaulted on its loan. The motion asks for priority over other unpaid creditors.

More:Stonetown files for receivership in AV Water case

If Stonetown receives priority, it will be able to force the sale of the Morningstar water system, according to New Mexico Public Regulation Commission counsel Russel Fisk. Fisk told the PRC during a meeting today in Santa Fe that was streamed live online that a court hearing on Stonetown's motion may take place in September.

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