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A public meeting was held at Donna North High School on May 4 to receive public input about the Donna Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant Project. Carlos Acevedo, an engineer with the Border Environmental Cooperation Commission, one of the funding agencies for the project, was present at the public hearing, along with Steven Sanchez, general manager of North Alamo Water Supply Corporation.

DONNA, RGV – The North Alamo Supply Corporation has received a $1.89 million grant to fund a regional treatment and wastewater collection system that will improve the quality of life for 1,600-plus colonia residents northwest of Donna.

The total project cost is $11.78 million. The grant has been provided by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) through the Border Environment Infrastructure Fund (BEIF), a program administered by the North American Development Bank (NADB).

Geronimo Gutierrez
Geronimo Gutierrez

The regional treatment and wastewater collection system was certified by the Border Environment Cooperation Commission (BECC) in June. It will focus on 1,600 colonia residents located north of Donna. The new wastewater collection system will extend to 400 homes, affecting six colonias: Alberta Acres, El Charro #2, Isaac’s Subdivision, L.J. #1, Muniz Subdivision, and Tower Road Estates.

“The Donna Regional Wastewater Project is North Alamo Water Supply Corporation’s fifth wastewater project. The project will make available a sewer service to the Donna North High School and surrounding areas,” Steven Sanchez, NAWSC general manager told the Rio Grande Guardian.

The colonias to receive infrastructure are located to the northwest of Donna and currently use on-site sanitation systems, mainly septic tanks and drain-field systems. However, due to population density, small lot sizes, high water tables and poor storm water drainage, the majority of these systems are generally not in compliance with regulatory requirements. In 2012, NAWSC received funding from TWDB, through its Economically Distressed Areas Program (EDAP), for the planning, acquisition, design and construction of a sanitary collection system to address this situation.

“North Alamo is making a great effort to provide wastewater services to hundreds of colonia residents for the first time, which will significantly improve the quality of life in one of the neediest counties in Texas,” Gerónimo Gutiérrez, NADB managing director stated.

While the infrastructure investment is designed to improve quality of life in the colonias, Sanchez believes it will have a much greater impact. Sanchez said the plant will attract new businesses, schools, and projects to the area. He said this growth may lead to partnerships with neighboring cities.

“The project will provide much needed infrastructure for new development of subdivisions, schools and businesses. Utilizing treatment agreements, the regional project has potential to partner up with adjoining cities,” Sanchez said.

A public meeting was held at Donna North High School on May 4 to receive public input about the Donna Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant Project. At the meeting, Ivan Garcia, an engineer with REGG Engineering & Surveying, gave a power-point presentation on the benefits of the project. It included these key points:

•    Healthier environment for affected members;
•    Facilities will server to make the area more attractive for commercial and medical service type development, and educational facilities;
•    higher density development will be feasible;

Carlos Acevedo, an engineer with the Border Environmental Cooperation Commission(BECC), one of the funding agencies for the project, was present at the public hearing, along with NAWSC’s Sanchez.

The project will add up to a total of $11.78 million and the $1.89 million BEIF grant will go towards the construction of a lift station, about 13,180 feet of force main, and 4,990 feet of gravity sewer lines, the decommissioning of the on-site sanitary systems, and the installation of up to 82 residential sewer connections.

Funds have been gathered from many sources for construction of the project, Gutiérrez said. He said the lowest income areas in Hidalgo County will soon see their own Wastewater Collection System for their region, a program that for many is long overdue.

“This grant will complete the financing necessary to make this project a reality,” Gutiérrez added.

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