News Release
Release No.STELPRD4009771
ContactErnie Watson505-761-4951
Investment Will Update Water and Wastewater Service to Thousands
Albuquerque, Apr 15, 2011 --

@@USDA Rural Development State Director Terry Brunner traveled to the Pueblo of Laguna today to present an obligation of funding certificate to congratulate the Pueblo for its successful application for a $28.6-million dollar water and wastewater infrastructure project.

During the presentation ceremony, Brunner said, “USDA funding will help repair leaks in the wastewater system and reduce the risk of contaminating the Earth.” Brunner added, “When completed, this project will also ensure that the residents of Laguna Pueblo have a healthy, adequate and reliable water supply for the future.”

The Rural Development funds provided to the Pueblo of Laguna will fund improvements to both the Pueblo’s water and sewer infrastructure. The Pueblo's water infrastructure is old, dilapidated, broken and a threat to the community's health, safety and welfare. The flaws in the system are such that Pueblo residents have been forced to go weeks without water.

When completed, the water project will provide safe, reliable water to the various communities that make up the Pueblo of Laguna. Proposed improvements address serious health concerns related to safe drinking water availability, water quality, fire protection, meeting current and future domestic water demands, and reducing operation and maintenance costs associated with the current water and sewer systems with the Pueblo of Laguna.

The existing water distribution systems were constructed over 20 years ago and have passed their useful design life. As a result, breaks in water distribution and sanitary sewer lines as well as failure of related infrastructure such as isolation or gate valves and flushing hydrants routinely occur. Large segments of the water distribution lines are made of asbestos-cement pipe. Several groundwater wells are currently offline due to repair needs and water storage tanks are in need of repairs or replacement. Currently, all water wells are manually operated and can only be controlled when the operator is on duty. Remote, real-time data pertaining to needs and water supply are not available.

Some of the villages that make up the Pueblo of Laguna will welcome the repair of the sewer lagoon system because the current collection system constitutes a health and safety risk. The Pueblo's sewer infrastructure is literally falling apart and is a threat to the community's health. The existing sewer collection was constructed over 20 years ago and is also beyond the original design life. Lagoons are not secured by fencing and individual septic systems are causing additional health hazards in the community. These improvements would ensure sanitary wastewater disposal through the community reducing human and environmental health risks.

To celebrate the commitment of the funds from USDA Rural Development, State Director Brunner presented a certificate of funding obligation in the amount of $26.6 million to the Pueblo of Laguna Governor Richard B. Luarkie during the Pueblo’s council meeting this morning.

USDA Rural Development’s mission is to increase economic opportunity and improve the quality of life for rural residents. Rural Development fosters growth in homeownership, finances business development, and supports the creation of critical community and technology infrastructure. Further information on rural programs is available at any local USDA Rural Development office or by visiting USDA Rural Development’s web site at