Gallego announces Marathon and Presidio will receive grants for water infrastructure projects

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Representative Pete P. Gallego (D-Alpine) announced today the Border Environment Cooperation Commission (BECC) has awarded Technical Assistance grants to Marathon and Presidio, Texas. The grants will fund project development activities in both communities. The Marathon Water Supply & Sewer Service Corporation’s proposed project will rehabilitate its aging wastewater system and add new connections and improve the City of Presidio’s water system.

“Upgrading our infrastructure in West Texas is important to me – especially where getting water is still a challenge,” U.S. Rep. Gallego said. “These projects will not only create jobs and bring money into the local economy; they will also conserve water and help ensure a healthy water supply for years to come. I will work closely with the Border Environment Cooperation Commission, local governments and constituents on these projects to meet water needs for the region.”

Marathon Water Supply & Sewer Service Corporation serves the Town of Marathon, Texas, located approximately 50 miles north of the U.S.-Mexico border, and has about 300 sewer connections. Its current system, constructed in the late 1960s, is degrading and causing sewage to back up.  The local utility has been reluctant to add new connections due to the system’s current condition. Because of this, residences in part of Marathon have no sewer service and rely on site-systems that are failing. The proposed project will identify and replace segments of the system that are causing wastewater overflows and expand service to those residences in need of them.

“With a technical assistance grant, project sponsors such as Marathon and Presidio can get the support needed to move these projects forward. This funding goes towards helping small communities complete the development and planning of proposed projects in order to meet certification requirements,” said Maria Elena Giner, BECC General Manager.

Under BECC’s Project Development Assistance Program, Marathon’s technical assistance grant of $98,400 will be used for a Preliminary Engineering Report (PER) which will provide background information on the current problem, and past attempts to address the issues, and Environment Information Document (EID). The PER will be used to identify ways to rehabilitate the current system, and options for adding new services.

Located on the U.S.-Mexico Border, the City of Presidio’s proposed water system improvement project has the expanded benefits of adding service connections to Las Pampas Colonia, situated approximately three miles from the border along Highway 67. This area had previously tried to establish its own water system, but currently residents must haul water from Presidio to their homes. The proposed project would also include the addition of a second water storage tank to insure continued delivery. This project will provide first time water services to residents of Las Pampas, and contribute to the sustainability to Presidio’s existing water system.

Presidio’s BECC TA grant of $80,000 will be used for the PER that will describe the current situation, analyze alternatives and propose a specific course of action from an engineering perspective. Along with this report, the city needs to complete an environmental report (ER) and a facility plan which will examine alternatives and provide recommendations for the Las Pampas water system extension, and for the sizing and location of the new tank. The EID will be based on the recommendations of the Facility Plan. BECC staff, along with project sponsors, will host kick-off meeting in the upcoming weeks for each project.

Both TA grants can potentially lead to project certification by BECC and financing by North American Development Bank (NADB) or other sources. BECC identifies, develops, evaluates and certifies environmental infrastructure projects with a bi-national team through an open public process in order to access financing through the NADB and other sources. To meet its objectives, BECC manages technical assistance funds that provide financial assistance to border communities, such as Marathon and Presidio, Texas.

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