U.S. Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich and U.S. Representative Ben Ray Luján have announced that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will reimburse the City of Rio Rancho $2.135 million for completed upgrades to water treatment facilities. The city funded the construction of a water treatment facility to clean arsenic from the water supply and comply with federal requirements in 2007, and the awarded funding reimburses a portion of the approximately $6 million in construction costs. The lawmakers have pushed the Army Corps of Engineers to reimburse the outstanding funding, which will help the City of Rio Rancho invest in additional water and wastewater infrastructure projects.
“I’m pleased this reimbursement to the City of Rio Rancho will enable the city to move forward on other important water infrastructure projects,” said Udall, who pressed Lt. General of the Army Corps Thomas Bostick about the reimbursement at an Energy and Water Appropriations hearing in February 2015. “Funding for water infrastructure projects like the upgrades completed in Rio Rancho helps ensure all families in New Mexico have access to clean, reliable water, and as a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, I’ll continue to fight for these important investments in the health and safety of our communities.”
“The partnership between the Army Corps of Engineers and City of Rio Rancho has been integral in developing a modern arsenic treatment facility for the city’s water supply,” Heinrich said. “These kinds of investments yield long term public health benefits by ensuring families have access to clean and reliable drinking water. Through this reimbursement, the city will be able to focus their attention on additional critical water projects. I will continue to work with my colleagues to ensure these water quality programs remain a priority.”
“I am pleased that the US Army Corp of Engineers has started to make good on reimbursing the City of Rio Rancho for the cities’ arsenic water treatment plant,” said Luján, who has offered multiple related amendments on the House floor. “Throughout this process, I have worked with stakeholders to make the City of Rio Rancho whole. This $2.1 million is a good first step that will allow the city to move forward with other much needed projects to strengthen and revitalize the community. I will continue to push to ensure that the City of Rio Rancho is fully reimbursed.”
The reimbursements for the Army Corps of Engineers projects authorized by Congress are awarded through a discretionary fund for environmental infrastructure, and are subject to the availability of funds. Last year, Udall and Heinrich worked to include a provision in the Energy and Water Appropriations bill encouraging the Army Corps of Engineers to prioritize projects owed past reimbursements where awarded funding could be applied to new environmental infrastructure projects.