BELEN — Water is life, and the city of Belen is making sure its water system is more than adequate for its residents and business owners.
Ralph Jaramillo , the city’s public works director, showed off and guided a short tour of the refurbished tank and new well No. 5, which is 740 feet deep, on Aragon Road last week, five years after beginning the project.
In 2017, the city began the project when the well had been out for a while. During that time, Jaramillo said they completed an inspection on the tank and realized they need to replace the floor and the walls needed to be re-coated.
With a $780,000 loan/grant from the Water Trust Board, work began in 2020, but at that time, the city noticed the roof was deteriorating. Without enough funding from the original source, the city received another loan/grant for just under $500,000 to complete the rehabilitation of tank’s roof.
“We turned the water on in the tank last October, and turned (the well) on in March,” Jaramillo said. “It’s been a good project and it should last another 50 years.”
In total, the cost of the entire project was about $1.2 million.
The tank on Aragon Road, the city’s largest, can hold about 2 million gallons of water, while the tank on top of the West Mesa holds 1 million gallons and another further holds another million gallons. The Eagle tank off Camino del Llano holds 750,000 gallons, and the tank near Cemco is capable of holding 550,000 gallons of water.
Jaramillo said if any of the tanks go out of service for some reason, another one will be able to take over.
While the tank was always in use, the well was put back into service in 2017 after being offline since 2011.
“It sounds like we’re well prepared for the city’s growth and new development on the water side of things,” said Belen Mayor Robert Noblin. “Now we need a plan for wastewater.”
Belen City Manager Andrew Salas said the city councilors will soon be considering their Infrastructure Capital Improvement Plan and for planning and design for the wastewater treatment systems.
Clara Garcia is the editor and publisher of the Valencia County News-Bulletin.
She is a native of the city of Belen, beginning her journalism career at the News-Bulletin in 1998 as the crime and courts reporter. During her time at the paper, Clara has won numerous awards for her writing, photography and typography and design both from the National Newspaper Association and the New Mexico Press Association.