San Juan - Chama Drinking Water Treatment Plant
Designed to preserve the Albuquerque area's underground aquifer by employing surface water as a drinking water source, the Project delivered seven billion gallons to customers of the Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority in 2009. That's approximately 21 percent of our total consumption. Plans call for that number to reach 50 percent in 2010 and around 90 percent the year after that.
Surface water must undergo a much more extensive treatment process than groundwater before it is safe to drink. The process we use to purify San Juan-Chama water has yielded excellent results in the first year, with all water produced meeting or exceeding all state and federal standards for clean drinking water.
Meanwhile, a huge benefit of the San Juan-Chama Drinking water Project is the fact that the surface water we're using contains little to no arsenic, unlike the groundwater in the Albuquerque area. By using and blending San Juan-Chama water with our groundwater, the Water Authority has been able to bring it's entire service area into earlier-than-required compliance with new federal arsenic standards.