Additional backup power generators for City of Carlsbad sewer lift stations could be up and running by the end of 2021 or early 2022 thanks to a grant from the New Mexico Environment Department (NMED).

July 27, Carlsbad’s City Council approved a $178,000 NMED grant to purchase electrical generators at City sewer lift stations, read a memorandum from City of Carlsbad Director of Utilities Ron Myers to councilors.

He said 10 sewer lift stations operate in the City of Carlsbad. Two have backup power and the state grant would allow for backup power at two more stations.

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“We believe that we can install two more generators with the money from this grant. We have not decided which two lift stations will be equipped next, but that decision will be made within the next few weeks,” Myers said.

Maddy Hayden, NMED spokesperson, said generator funding was determined by the 2021 New Mexico Legislature.

“This project is funded through capital outlay. This project was reauthorized from a previous year. Capital outlay projects are usually funded through state general fund or through state bonds,” she said.

Ron Myers, director of utilities for the City of Carlsbad, says a State of New Mexico grant would mean more backup power for sewer lift stations.

Myers said a sewer lift station pumps sewage waste from a lower elevation to a higher elevation as it is conveyed to the wastewater treatment plant for processing.

“Key elements of lift stations include a wastewater receiving well (wet-well), often equipped with a screen or grinding to remove coarse materials; pumps and piping with associated valves; motors; a power supply system; an equipment control and alarm system; and an odor control system and ventilation system,” read a document from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

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Wes Reeves, Xcel Energy spokesperson, said backup or emergency generation was common on critical equipment for public services like sewer lift stations.

“We place priority on these facilities when we experience outages on the system, and we have invested millions in upgrades to our distribution facilities across the service territory to ensure the highest reliability,” he said.

 “Even so, it is prudent for customers who provide these vital services to be prepared with a backup in case of an extended outage, and we work closely with these customers to ensure their systems are compatible.”

Xcel Energy

Myers said money for the new generators should arrive in Carlsbad sometime in September or October.

“We believe that a generator or two could be installed and operational within six to eight months after funds are available,” he said.

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Mike Smith can be reached at 575-628-5546 or by email at MSmith@currentargus.com or @ArgusMichae on Twitter. 

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