Earth Day Celebrated In La Union And Mesquite Colonias With Dedication Of New Water Systems

Children from the La Union Elementary School join USDA Rural Development State Director Terry Brunner, center in the rear, to dedicate the new water treatment facility. Courtesy/USDA

USDA Rural Development State Director Terry Brunner turns on the water at the Mesquite water system symbolizing the completion of construction of the water system. Looking on is Johnny Holguin , left, vice chair of the Lower Rio Grande Public Water Works Authority and Roberto Nieto, chairman of the water authority. Courtesy/USDA

USDA News:

  • New water systems now eliminate harmful arsenic in water supply

ALBUQUERQUE – USDA-Rural Development State Director Terry Brunner was in southern New Mexico today to celebrate Earth Day by dedicating two new water treatment systems in La Union and Mesquite.

The two Earth Day celebrations coincided with hundreds of similar events across the nation to encourage people to be more responsible trustees of the Earth. Earth Day was first celebrated in 1970 to bring awareness and celebrate gains that have made to protect the environment by cleaning up contaminated areas.

“USDA is proud to partner with rural communities like La Union and Mesquite to provide the means to protect the health and safety of those living in these communities,” Brunner said during the ceremonies. “Let’s not forget Earth Day gives us the chance to show USDA’s commitment to improving the quality of life in rural areas.”

USDA Rural Development provided $1.2 million in loan and grant funds to the La Union Mutual Domestic Sewer and Water Association to pay for the new filtering system that now eliminates the arsenic from the water system. The new water treatment system is now compliant with regulations mandated by the Environment Protection Agency (EPA).

USDA RD provided $5.4 million to upgrade the water system in Mesquite. The construction included the blending of water from the Mesquite and Desert Sands systems to reduce the arsenic level. This was done to bring the arsenic contaminations below the 10 parts per billion levels mandated by EPA drinking water regulations. By blending the water the water system is now in compliance with the EPA standards making the water safe to drink for those residents on the Mesquite water system.

The funding was also used provide additional storage capacity and to upgrade the water line distribution system and related equipment. 

“Today’s celebration demonstrates that USDA Rural Development remains focused on carrying out its mission to provide funding to build wastewater systems like this one,” Brunner said. “I congratulate Doña Ana County for being a responsible steward of the Earth by making sure the groundwater in Chaparral is protected.”

President Obama’s plan for rural America has brought about historic investment and resulted in stronger rural communities. Under the President’s leadership, these investments in housing, community facilities, businesses and infrastructure have empowered rural America to continue leading the way – strengthening America’s economy, small towns and rural communities. USDA’s investments in rural communities support the rural way of life that stands as the backbone of our American values.

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