Rio Rancho is the first city in New Mexico to inject purified waste water into city ground water
Rio Rancho, N.M. — The city is the first in New Mexico to inject purified, recycled waste water into its aquifer.
Up to one million gallons of water will be injected back into the aquifer, but three steps happen beforehand, according to city leaders. "First, you flush your toilet and depending on where in Rio Rancho you live, that water goes to the Cabazon wastewater treatment facility, where bacteria is removed and the water is made safe for irrigation, even showering. Then the water is pumped through underground pipes six miles away to the new advanced water treatment facility. We have to conserve it, because if we don't, it would be a sin to waste it," said David Bency, a Rio Rancho City Councilor who has been working on the project for 16 years.
Crews use ozone to oxidize out harmful contaminants in the water, like pharmaceuticals for example. Then, the water is pumped back into the aquifer. The water is treated again after it is pulled out of the aquifer, before it enters the pipes to your homes, according to city leaders.
The project costs $25 million. It's paid for through $8.5 million in grants and revenue generated from water and sewage.