New Mexico Water Protection Project

New Mexico – The New Mexico Environment Department and the Office of the Natural Resource Trustee are launching a project in the Middle Rio Grande Basin to protect water supplies from failing septic systems and illegal cesspools.

The project will allow low-income households to replace illegal cesspools or improper septic systems with a modern liquid waste system or connect the household to public sewer. The trustee's office will pay for the project with $230,000 from natural resource damage settlements.

The project area includes Sandoval, Valencia and Socorro counties. Bernalillo County already has an assistance program in place.

The Environment Department will administer the program by screening households, issuing agreements with licensed contractors, and by permitting, overseeing and inspecting the construction work.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.