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AZTEC — After years of planning and redoing those plans, the city of Aztec is nearly ready to start construction on a new $5 million sewer outfall line.

Joshua Ray, the city manager, said Aztec residents can expect to see an increase in sewer rates as the city repays the loan.

“We haven’t had an increase in a while,” Ray said.

This increase will be noticeable. Ray estimates residents could see between $10 and $12 increase in their monthly sewer bills.

While the project is expensive, officials say it is also necessary.

"Without this line, the city has no sewer," said city engineer William Watson.

The outfall line is the main sewer line in Aztec and all the other lines feed into it. Currently, the line is made of 65-year-old clay. The new line will be more durable because it is made out of plastic.

Watson said the engineering plans for the project are 95 percent complete and have been sent to the New Mexico Environment Department to be reviewed and approved.

The environment department must approve the plans because the city of Aztec is borrowing the $5 million from the department for the project.

“All in all, it’s going to be a great project once it’s done,” Watson said.

Ray said the new line will hopefully not need to be replaced for another 30 to 50 years.

The outfall line will start in the area of the Money Saving Bridge, the one-lane bridge connecting West Aztec Boulevard with West Chaco Street.

It will then follow the along the north side of Eledge Ditch, through portions of Riverside Park, until it gets to the area of Western Drive, near its intersection with Swire Avenue.

Watson said the line will go down the center of Western Drive and a portion of South Oliver Drive. The line will end at the waste water treatment plant, located on South Oliver Drive.

To prepare for the installation of the outfall line, a gas line will have to be moved.

Watson said he expects the gas line that runs under Western Drive to be moved this month and the road in the residential section of Western Drive will remain unpaved until after the sewer outfall line has been installed.

Watson said he expects the outfall line to be completed by the end of 2017.

Hannah Grover covers Aztec and Bloomfield, as well as general news, for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652.

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