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La Joya plans to build a new wastewater treatment plant – Progress Times

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After a decade of delay, the city of La Joya can finally build a modern wastewater treatment plant.

La Joya wants to replace the city’s old pond-based sewage treatment plant with an activated sludge plant – and increase capacity from 350,000 gallons per day to 1.2 million.

The old factory, which La Joya built in 1982, is already at 90% of its capacity, according to a report prepared by the city engineer. It is also located in a floodplain, which becomes a major concern during hurricanes.

“The previous administration was just putting small fixes here and there and trying to buy time,” Mayor Isidro Casanova said. “Well, the time has come. And we have to fix this problem.”

Casanova and the city council started planning for the new sewage treatment plant last year.

They hired Houston-based S&B Infrastructure and agreed to pay the engineering company nearly $ 1.7 million to manage the project.

La Joya also sought help from the Texas Water Development Board and the Rural Utilities Service, which is part of the US Department of Agriculture.

After reviewing 99 projects that applied for funding through the Clean Water State Revolving Fund, the Water Development Board ranked La Joya # 1.

The water development council urged the city to apply for a loan of nearly $ 10.3 million in January 2021. About $ 3.6 million of principal could be forgiven under a program designed to help disadvantaged communities.

If construction begins in November, the project could be completed by January 2023.

La Joya is currently dependent on a pond-based treatment plant built in 1982. Wastewater from nearly 1,300 customers moves through a series of ponds, which separate the water from the solids.

The effluents from the plant are discharged into the Rio Grande.

“The wastewater treatment plant has reached its rated capacity and has been continually cited by TCEQ for various infractions, resulting in a system-wide upgrade, including secondary effluent treatment,” according to a proposal from S&B Infrastructure submitted to La Joya, which referred to the Texas Commission. on the quality of the environment as TCEQ.

City engineer Dario V. Guerra came to a similar conclusion.

“The facility has reached its 90% capacity and cannot meet the anticipated needs of the city in its current state,” Guerra wrote in an environmental briefing paper submitted to the Water Development Board.

Upgrading the existing plant is simply not feasible, Guerra concluded. The construction of a new plant would solve the looming capacity problem and bring La Joya into compliance with TCEQ regulations.

The new plant would also be designed to mitigate any danger posed by flooding.

Hurricanes pose a major threat to the existing plant, which is located south of Military Highway. If the ponds overflow or the plant is flooded, sewage will contaminate the surrounding area.

“We were very lucky not to have had any serious problems with the flooding,” Casanova said.

La Joya plans to build the new factory nearby. It would be designed to survive a 100-year flood.

City council received a briefing from S&B Infrastructure on Tuesday afternoon. He is awaiting a decision from the Water Development Board.

“We just have to be patient,” Casanova said. “It will happen.”

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