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BLOOMFIELD — Construction on the water reclamation facility in Bloomfield is anticipated to begin this year. The $11 million project will take about 16 months to complete after construction begins.

Bloomfield hosted a public input meeting this week to provide details on the project and to discuss the environmental impact document, which is available on the city’s website.

The original facility, which treats wastewater prior to returning it to the river, was built in 1978.

“The treatment equipment is obsolete now,” said City Engineer Jason Thomas. “It no longer treats efficiently and it’s also difficult to repair. It requires custom-built parts.”

Thomas showed an image of a repair done last year when the north clarifier's bearing plate wore out. He said it required extensive dismantling and custom fabrication.

In addition, he said there are numerous cracks in the concrete structure.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has issued an administrative order requiring Bloomfield to upgrade the plant by December 2024.

The city looked at various options and chose to replace the secondary treatment infrastructure. The primary treatment is done at the headworks, which were updated in 2005 and are still operating efficiently, according to project manager Rob Richardson from the engineering firm Bohannon Houston. He said there will be minor updates there.

Bloomfield has chosen a sequencing batch reactor system to replace its existing system. Thomas said the city liked the sequencing batch reactor system because it is relatively modular and it can be added on to or expanded if the population grows.

The new design will also allow the treated water to be used in place of potable water for certain things like dust control.

Richardson said the new system will last for at least 20 years.

The city has received state funding to help pay for the upgrade and has also asked for $1.5 million in capital outlay money this legislative session. The funding agreement the city has with the New Mexico Environment Department includes a low-interest loan of $7.65 million as well as a grant of $3.35 million.

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

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