The City of Rio Rancho will soon start cleaning up its Wastewater Treatment Plant 2 basins. The process could take up to four months. (Gregory Hasman/Observer)



Businesses located near the City of Rio Rancho’s Wastewater Treatment Plant 2 on Industrial Park Loop may soon experience a short-term inconvenience. 

The Rio Rancho Governing Body last week OK’d about a $1 million bid award to AUI, Inc. out of Albuquerque to remove sludge buildup from inside the plant’s aeration basins.  

Plant 2 currently treats up to 5.5 million gallons of wastewater daily. 

The basins need to be properly cleaned out to maintain effluent quality as required by the Environmental Protection Agency’s National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit. 

This type of work needs to be done every 10-15 years, according to the city.  Work is expected to start June 13 and could take about four months to complete. 

“The work will likely not take that long, though,” city spokeswoman Annemarie Garcia said.

The city plans to meet with business owners in the vicinity to discuss any potential impacts to the area such as bad odors.

“It (will) have a huge impact on those businesses in the area,” Mayor Gregg Hull said at the Governing Body’s May 26 meeting. “Some public outreach and communication will save us a lot of phone calls.” 

For about 2-3 weeks, residents may experience intermittent odors as the contractor drains the basin and removes the solids, according to the city.

“We will be sending out letters notifying residents that this will likely be an effect,” Garcia said.

Funding for the project will come from the city’s existing utilities department’s enterprise fund.