Where: Lordsburg, New Mexico
Issue: A small community water system was out of compliance with the Safe Drinking Water Act.
Outcome: RCAC worked with the community to develop a regional solution to provide safe drinking water.
Glen Acres is a small subdivision just outside the city of Lordsburg, New Mexico. It is an area where fluoride, arsenic and uranium levels are naturally high. In the early 2000s, the state suffered an extended drought that affected both water quantity and quality. As a result, the Cooperative’s fluoride water levels increased to unsafe levels, and it no longer complied with the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA).
The New Mexico Environment Department referred RCAC to the Cooperative to help it achieve compliance.
RCAC worked with the community to submit an application to USDA to fund a fluoride treatment system; however the cooperative discovered that the system might also violate the SDWA for uranium levels. The utility could not identify a cost effective treatment technology to remove both fluoride and uranium; and the only option was to purchase bulk water from nearby Lordsburg.
However, RCAC thought a regional solution could be effective. At the cooperative board’s request, RCAC approached the city of Lordsburg to request interconnection with the city. RCAC staff worked with the city and Cooperative to reach agreement, and negotiate contract terms and rates to connect with the city.
However, as is often the case in small town projects, it took a long time to complete the connection. Every time the city elected a new city council or a new mayor, the project suffered a setback. Although cooperative board members threatened many times to resign, RCAC’s staff worked diligently to convince them to see the project through to completion.
RCAC’s involvement was instrumental to ensuring that Glen Acres residents now have access to safe and affordable drinking water.