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Corrales mayor says firm responsible for sewer system fixes

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Corrales Mayor Phil Gasteyer has written to the head of the company that engineered the controversial village wastewater system saying the firm should stand behind its work and fix defects at no cost.

Gasteyer sent the letter to Souder Miller and Associates President Peter Fant on June 6, after he had scheduled a council workshop on Wednesday to discuss financial issues related to the wastewater project.

The letter said it was the village’s position that problems with the system such as inoperable valves and lack of operational manuals or instructions were the company’s fault and “It is SMA’s responsibility to correct them at no cost to the village.”

Village engineer Steve Grolmann pointed out the problems to councilors in March estimating it would cost about $200,000 to correct them and make the system operational.

Last month, when the council approved guidelines for connecting to the system and rates for customers, Gasteyer said he expected to use money remaining from a loan the village received from the state Environment Department loan to pay for the fixes.

At a recent meeting with Environment Department representatives, Gasteyer said he learned that the Department was unwilling to let loan fund money be used to pay for that purpose.

Their opinion was that the Department “has already paid for these elements once, and should not have to pay for them again,” Gasteyer’s letter said.

Corrales councilors are scheduled to meet at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday to discuss this and other issues related to the Environment Department loan.

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