case study feature seven lakesPeralta, New Mexico


Valencia County was looking at the water and sewer needs for Peralta, New Mexico, an old town that relied on septic tanks and cesspools. Onsite systems in Peralta were of great concern because of their age and proximity to groundwater in this established agricultural area.

The planning process for septic to sewer conversion projects included consideration of existing conditions:

  • Flat land
  • High groundwater
  • Irrigation canals for agriculture that wind through the town


The consulting engineer considered gravity sewer, vacuum sewer, and pressure sewer. Pressure sewer systems offered the best advantages for providing central sewer service to Peralta:

  • Estimated to cost approximately half of a gravity sewer's cost
  • Flexible layout for connecting existing development
  • Small construction footprint and equipment

Peralta did not construct a wastewater treatment plant for their sewer system: the neighboring town of Bosque Farms, also using pressure sewer, had available capacity at its plant and could accept the wastewater from Peralta, approximately 2 miles away.



Bosque Farms has used pressure sewer for more than 20 years; Peralta knew that pressure sewer would work for them. Residents, initially reluctant toward central sewer, quickly embraced the project and sign up to convert to sewer. 

Related Article

Preserving a Rural Heritage, WaterWorld magazine, September 2020