SEPTIC TO SEWER PROJECT IN RURAL NEW MEXICO

case study feature seven lakesPeralta, New Mexico

Challenge: Aging septic tanks and cesspools, and high groundwater

Valencia County performed an assessment of 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 a septic to sewer conversion project included consideration of existing conditions:

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

Solution: Pressure sewer offers flexibility and low impact

The consulting engineer evaluated 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.

 

Result: Homeowners eager to convert to central sewer

Bosque Farms has used pressure sewer and E/One grinder pumps since the 1990s; Peralta knew that pressure sewer would work for their town as well. 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