Bloomfield gets funds for Harvest Gold project

New Mexico Board of Finance approves emergency funding for project that will provide clean water to subdivision

Hannah Grover
A plan to transfer Harvest Gold water system assets from the AV Water Co. to a newly formed mutual domestic water users association east of Bloomfield is moving forward.
  • Bloomfield officials say it will take 16 weeks to complete the project.
  • The connection will include 850 feet of water main and a pump station.
  • The pump station will be located on San Juan County right of way and will be portable.
  • The Apple Orchard Mutual Domestic Water Consumers Association will purchase water from Bloomfield.

FARMINGTON — The New Mexico Board of Finance has approved $184,500 in funding for the city of Bloomfield to construct 850 feet of water main and a pump station to connect Bloomfield's infrastructure to the Harvest Gold water system.

Harvest Gold is a subdivision east of the city and has been on a boil-water advisory since June. The connection would allow the residents to receive clean water from the city of Bloomfield. The money for the project comes from the board of finance's emergency water fund and operating reserve fund.

The New Mexico Public Regulation Commission and New Mexico Environment Department sent letters to the board of finance and had representatives at the board of finance's meeting today in Santa Fe expressing support for the connection. A video of the meeting can be viewed online.

"We worked very closely with Bloomfield to encourage them to make the hookup, make the water system connection, so that the Harvest Gold water customers can finally get clean, potable and safe drinking water," said PRC Commissioner Lynda Lovejoy, who represents northwest New Mexico.

Bloomfield Public Works Director Jason Thomas said the project will take about 16 weeks to complete.

"We are looking at ways to expedite this," he said.

The pump station will be located on land within a San Juan County right of way and will be portable, Thomas said.

Bloomfield officials previously expressed concerns about the ownership of the project. One concern was that a private company, AV Water Co., owns the water system, including the tank. Bloomfield originally wanted to install sensors on the water tank to prevent the tank from overflowing. But the state's anti-donation clause could prevent that. Thomas said the city discussed that concern with the New Mexico Environment Department and developed an alternative plan of installing a pressure switch on the pump station.

The city also received reassurances that it would not violate the anti-donation clause when subdivision residents formed the Apple Orchard Mutual Domestic Water Consumers Association, the newly formed community water system that is taking over ownership of the Harvest Gold system from the troubled AV Water Co. Thomas said if Apple Orchard receives all the water assets from AV Water, including the tank, the city will go back to its original plan to install the sensors on the tank.

Apple Orchard will purchase water from Bloomfield for about $4.57 per 1,000 gallons, which is the same rate charged to city residents, Thomas told the Board of Finance.

Peggy Hogan, one of Apple Orchard's board members, said the paperwork required to form the new water system has been filed with and accepted by the New Mexico Secretary of State's Office, and a registered agent has been established. She said a five-member board also has been elected. The board still needs to draft its bylaws and set rates. Hogan said Apple Orchard officials have met with representatives of the nearby Flora Vista Water Users Association to learn about its rate structure. The association also needs to hire staff, including an operator. Ultimately, the PRC will have to approve AV Water transferring the system to Apple Orchard.

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