The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Ortega: Phase set for late March completion


Last updated 1/14/2020 at 5:18pm

CLOVIS — Though the final completion date has moved back about three months from original estimates, the Eastern New Mexico Water Utility Authority is satisfied with what’s been completed so far on its Finished Water 2 efforts.

Authority Executive Director Orlando Ortega told Clovis Water Policy Advisory Committee members Tuesday morning that FW2 is at 81% completion. Remaining work for the approximate seven miles of pipeline to connect Clovis to Cannon Air Force Base includes vault construction, 13-inch welded pipe inspection going on this week and hydrostatic testing that should happen around Feb. 1.

Ortega is anticipating completion in late March or early April. The original completion date was Dec. 26, but there have been various weather-related delays and Ortega said the extra months spent are less important than knowing the work was done right.

“We have made adjustments at no cost to the authority,” Ortega said. “We told the contractor we don’t want them rushing to make a deadline. We want first and foremost safety for the workers out there. We also want to continue the quality we’ve kept.”

Clovis city commission Sandra Taylor-Sawyer asked Ortega what the lifetime of the pipe would be. Ortega said “We may have to replace a valve now and then,” but the pipeline should work for a minimum of 75 years and probably well over 100.

The authority, Ortega said, has $2.5 million set aside already for Finished Water 3, which would take the pipeline from Cannon to Portales.

In other business at the Tuesday meeting:

• City Manager Justin Howalt said the Clovis city commission just approved a bid for work on Phase 1D of the effluent water project with a project timeline of 550-580 days.

The work will take the pipeline from the Liebelt Channel to Bob Spencer Park and install a 1 million gallon storage tank at the park. Phase 2 would connect the system to the Colonial Park Golf Course.

Over the last 2 1/2 years, the system has delivered 175 million gallons of treated wastewater for municipal uses and watering parks and schools. When complete, the system can supply up to 4 million gallons per day and reduce fresh water demands by 30%.

Mayor and committee chair David Lansford said the city and Clovis Municipal Schools were unlikely to ever need all 4 million gallons, and that the city commission would eventually want to look at selling that excess to industry. Lansford has shied away from promising any of that water to private companies because the public need comes first and he’s not sure how much water that will require.

• Lansford asked Howalt if he would write a letter to Curry County asking if it still wanted to have a member on the water policy advisory board, given its recent move to leave the water authority.

• The next meeting is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. Feb. 11 at Clovis City Hall.


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