Agua SUD receives $6 million for Palmview sewer project

Residential hook-ups to the wastewater system installed in Palmview will be paid for by government funds, U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar announced Saturday.

Cuellar, D-Laredo, along with officials from the Agua Special Utility District and the city of Palmview, announced a $6 million grant from the North American Development Bank (NADB) that will go toward Agua SUD’s sewer project.

“This project has been the board’s priority for the last two-and-a-half years,” said Loyd Loya, president of the Agua SUD board of directors. “We’re trying to connect over 2,000 homes, 2,000 resident families to a safe and sanitary sewer system for the first time in the history of Palmview.”

The multi-phase project to bring sewer services to the city of Palmview broke ground in 2017 after years of trying to get the project off the ground. Three of the first four phases are nearly complete, according to Agua SUD General Manager Jose E. “Eddie” Saenz. The project is expected to be completed by the end of June.

The $6 million federal grant will enable the utility district to hook up residents to the newly installed sewer lines.

“I know Palmview’s complaints for many years was ‘why do our sister cities like Peñitas and La Joya and Sullivan City have sewer and we can’t?'” Loya said.  “I’m proud to say it is a historical moment for Palmview.”

He also thanked the city of Palmview for its partnership.

“I know it’s been rough; we’ve had a few obstacles and a few bumpy roads, but thank you for putting everything aside and being patient with us, and we look forward to working with you in future projects.”

The sewer hookups are slated to begin by the end of June, Saenz said, adding they’re still finalizing the one-year contract with the contractor, Mor-Wil LLC based in Mission.

“Once we have that going, we’re expecting to have a pre-construction meeting approximately June 15 or 18, somewhere in that area,” Saenz said, “and then the contractor has about 10 days to get started.”

The grant was issued through NADB’s U.S. EPA Border Environment Infrastructure Fund program.

“The project will reduce environmental and health hazards associated with inadequate treatment and disposal of wastewater,” said Dr. Calixto Mateos-Hanel, the managing director for NADB. “An estimated 900,000 gallons per day of inadequately treated wastewater discharges will be eliminated.”

Cuellar also highlighted the significance of providing first-time access to wastewater collection and treatment services to the Palmview area.

“This will help us in reducing environmental and health hazards because if somebody’s using a septic tank or some other system of disposal, it could create some sort of health hazard,” Cuellar said. “So when you’re able to eliminate, I think it’s an estimated 900,000 gallons per day of untreated or inadequately treated wastewater discharges, this is good for the community.”

Editor’s note: This post has been updated to reflect that the NADB managing director is Dr. Calixto Mateos-Hanel.