Farmington looks toward the future as it moves ahead with water treatment plants project

City manager says water treatment plant upgrades are the last major component of a plan that began 14 years ago

Hannah Grover
Farmington Daily Times
Farmington is looking at a $12.5 million upgrade at the water treatment plant shown in this February 2016 file photo.
  • The City Council discussed projects to include on the Infrastructure Capital Improvement Plan.

FARMINGTON — The Farmington City Council approved moving to the design phase of two multi-million-dollar water treatment plant improvement projects.

The City Council discussed these upgrades during a meeting on Aug. 18 conducted via Zoom.

City Manager Rob Mayes explained that the upgrades are part of a 20-year vision that began about 14 years ago with the passage of the renewal and replacement charge on utility bills.

This was a very controversial move.

“People came out of the woodwork to speak against it,” Mayes said.

That charge has allowed the city to do major projects including replacing sewer lift stations and completing a new wastewater treatment plant.

Mayes said the renovations of the two water treatment plants were the last major component of the upgrades to the water and wastewater systems in the city. These upgrades are a proactive measure to keep infrastructure functioning as intended.

While the upgrades may lead to increased rates, they are much more affordable than building a new water treatment plant. 

Light reflects on water in the filter room of one of Farmington's water treatment plants.

The upgrades will also increase water treatment capacity, which is an important component to meeting future growth and demand.

Currently, water treatment plant one can produce 15 million gallons of water daily year-round while water treatment plant two produces 10 million gallons of water a day on a seasonal basis.

The city is looking at a $12.5 million upgrade to water treatment plant one and an $11.9 million upgrade to water treatment plant two.

This would increase the capacity of the combined plants to 28 million gallons of water daily year-round.

State money sought

The City Council also asked staff to include these upgrades on the Infrastructure Capital Improvement Plan. This plan is submitted to the state every year. The projects on the list are more likely to receive certain types of state and federal funding, such as capital outlay money.

The entrance to a water treatment plant is pictured in September 2014.

For example, every year the Piñon Hills Boulevard Project is included on the ICIP list because the city and the county apply for federal funding. The proposed ICIP list presented to the City Council on Aug. 18 included Pinon Hills Boulevard at the top.

The city and county hope to one day connect Piñon Hills Boulevard with Crouch Mesa, providing an alternative route to get to shopping in east Farmington. 

The Red Apple Transit hub is also an important project to have on the list because it may be eligible for federal funding and having it on the list may make it more competitive to receive those funds.

The city tries to include a variety of projects with a range of prices that can be done in phases and are flexible.

“We have no idea what money will be available,” Mayes explained.

The city also includes a bridge project and a water line project each year. This year’s proposed bridge project is the Broadway Avenue bridge and the waterline project is the La Plata Highway waterlines.

The City Council will likely approve the ICIP during the Aug. 25 meeting.

Other projects that will likely be on the list include:

  • Phase three of the Foothills Enhancement Project
  • Security cameras for downtown and parks
  • New police patrol cars
  • Two projects related to Lake Farmington, including public safety infrastructure and sewer lines
  • Upgrades to public safety communication equipment
  • Renovations of Lions Pool
  • Tibbetts All Abilities Park

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

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