New sewer system sparks battle in Village of Corrales

Posted at: 10/10/2012 11:25 PM
By: Maria Guerrero, KOB Eyewitness News 4

A battle between residents and the Village of Corrales is coming to a head.

It all centers around the village’s new sewer system and whether a handful of residents and businesses will be forced to pay thousands of dollars to use it.

Wayne Bradley and his family have called their plot of land on Corrales Road home for five generations.

The stretch of road was once used for agriculture. The people who lived there used septic tanks.

Times have changed and the village said the sewage system should too. But it’s going to cost a small group of residents and businesses.

"We're looking at $10-thousand dollars," said Bradley of what he estimates the new system will cost his family.

That’s just the cost for him to hook up to the new system.

The biggest problem is called the Corrales Road High Density Area. There are 125 businesses and residents along this stretch of road.

The village said their septic systems are deteriorating the groundwater. So the village has built its own sewer system called the Septic Tank Effluent Pump. It pumps wastewater from homes or businesses’ septic tanks to collection and transmission pipes and eventually to the Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority.

"I think it’s a safer, more sanitary, more modern condition," said Mayor Phil Gasteyer.

A draft ordinance asks the small group of residents to hook-up to the new system.

The cost could run in the thousands of dollars for them. But Gasteyer said this is not a done deal.

"We're trying to respond to the community's desires and needs and certainly on the table is making the hook-up optional rather than mandatory," Gasteyer said.

But Bradley argued that he has researched water quality tests for two years.

"We've been here for 60 years on the same septic system and we're still fine,” he said. “There's no proof the groundwater was bad they're just pushing this through for a cost putting a burden on people who are on social security."

"Hopefully we can all work together and reach some kind of compromise," said Gasteyer.

Bradley said he’ll continue to fight and is prepared to go to court. "I just believe it's a bridge to nowhere. In this case, it's a sewer for no one.”

Gasteyer said the village is looking at ways to help low-income residents deal with the cost, whatever it may be.

There will be a public information meeting on November 13 to discuss the plans.

The mayor said the village won’t make a final vote until the city council’s November 27 meeting.