A multi-million dollar project contract to design, construct and replace an aging waste water treatment facility was approved by Rio Rancho city councilors this week.
The governing body voted unanimously for the Waste Water Treatment Plant 1 Improvement Project on Wednesday. The agreement, if it passes its second reading, would award a contract of up to $22 million to MWH Constructors for an 18-month design-build project. Funds for the project would be provided from remaining bond funds in the city’s utilities capital infrastructure fund.
According to the discussion item, the contract would require MWH Constructors to build a new treatment facility “adjacent to the existing facility at the Sara Road site, capable of treating a maximum amount of 1.5 million gallons per day.” The facility would also be “a pump station and pipeline” with the ability to transfer water to the city’s irrigation reuse system, as well as to the city’s aquifer injection holding tank.
Waste Water Treatment Plant 1, located on Sara Road, is nearly 50 years old and has been the subject of several previous heated discussions amongst the governing body. In 2015, a bond issue ordinance that would have raised $28.5 million to replace WWTP 1 failed after receiving a 4-3 vote. According to a state statute, the ordinance required the support of five of the city’s six councilors to approve the request.
Councilor Cheryl Everett said she was glad to see the project move forward and excited for the project’s 18-month design-build aspect – the first of its kind in Rio Rancho.
“This approach has been proven in other locations to speed up production and reduce cost – I think that’s evidence of astute management of our water utility and that’s what we’re looking for,” Everett said. “I appreciate that and support this totally.”
In other action, the governing body approved the second reading of an ordinance that bans the sale of dogs and cats at pet stores and requires pet owners to spay and neuter their dogs. City councilors voted 4-2, with Dawnn Robinson and Jennifer Flor dissenting.
The sale ban will become effective in May and the spay-and-neuter requirement will begin 180 days following the governing body’s decision.