South Central, New Mexico, USA

Construction of the Wastewater Collection and Treatment System for Vado,Del Cerro,San Miguel,La Mesa,Berino and Chamberino Communities in Doña Ana County, New Mexico

Status: Completed

Pre-project Conditions

Steady, unplanned growth in rural areas of southcentral Doña Ana County resulted in many homes not having access to a centralized wastewater treatment system. Residents and businesses used on-site systems such as septic tanks or cesspools for wastewater disposal. In some cases, multiple dwellings were connected to a single on-site system. The high density of homes combined with a prominent layer of poorly draining soil caused frequent surfacing of contaminated water and was an immediate threat to public health.  The failing on-site systems also posed a potential health and environmental risk from infiltration of wastewater to the aquifer.

Project Scope

This regional project consisted of two phases: 1) construction of individual sewer systems and residential hook-ups for the communities of Vado, Del Cerro, La Mesa, San Miguel, Berino, and Chamberino, as well as construction of a wastewater treatment plant to serve all six communities; and 2) expansion of the treatment plant in 2010.

Phase I (2002-2003):

  • Construction of approximately 301,000 linear feet of gravity sewers and 78,100 linear feet of force main.
  • Installation of an estimated 2,200 residential hookups and decommissioning of on-site disposal systems.
  • Construction of a sequencing batch reactor type treatment facility using ultraviolet disinfection to treat up to 1.05 million gallons of wastewater per day (mgd). Plant effluent will be discharged into the Rio Grande, and sludge will be dewatered by mechanical equipment and disposed of in a landfill.

Phase II project (2010):
It is anticipated that plant capacity will need to be increased to treat an average flow of 2.1 mgd. within the next five to seven years.


The project provided first-time wastewater collection and treatment services to 2,200 residences in six communities, eliminating the health risks attributed to groundwater contamination and untreated sewage run-off caused by failing on-site wastewater treatment systems.

Project Financing

Total Project Cost US 24.07M
NADB Funding US 13.08M - NADB Grant: BEIF
Other Funding Partners New Mexico Environment Department (NMED) State Revolving Fund (SRF)
EPA Colonias Fund Program
Border Environment Cooperation Commission ( BECC)