The Board of County Commissioners approved a pilot loan program that will assist county residents with financing the cost of connecting their homes to the Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority (ABCWUA) water lines.
The CONNECT water loan progam will be offered to residents throughout the county who are on well water systems where the ground water quality does not meet federally-mandated primary drinking water standards and where ABCWUA service lines are available.
CONNECT loans are made from the county to the resident in the form of direct payment to contractors and direct payment of various connection fees. The re-payment will be billed directly through the resident’s ABCWUA water bill over a 10 year period of time at a seven percent interest rate.
The county is providing all the funding for the CONNECT loan program and coordination of the water line connection, while the ABCWUA will provide the administrative function of billing and collecting payments and reimbursement to the county.
The CONNECT loan program will begin Nov. 1, 2012. The amount of funding available for CONNECT is $150,000. The money will come from the county’s general fund. As loans are repaid, the loan program account balance will be replenished and can be used to support a new cycle of loans.
What You May Expect After You CONNECT
After connection to the municipal water system, homeowners may experience some changes in water quality that can cause concern. The most common are an increase of sediment in the water or the occurrence of odor.
The change in water pressure and water chemistry can cause pre-existing built-up sediment in your pipes to loosen and dissolve into your water. These changes are usually temporary and should clear after a few weeks. If the presence of sediment lasts for a longer period of time, we would recommend discussing the following options with your plumber.
Flushing the water lines. Water or air can be forced back through your water lines to an opened connection to remove pre-existing large amounts of loose sediment and built-up deposits in your water line. Removal of sediments can improve the aesthetic quality of your water (the way it looks and smells) and the water pressure. This is only recommended for sediment problems that last for a long period of time and should only be done by a plumber.
If any sediment is present in your water heater, it can also affect the quality of water in your hot water heater. A build-up of sediment in your water heater can lead to a sulfur odor (rotten egg smell) in your water. If your water heater has been in your home for a few years, draining the heater can help to reduce or remove the sediments.
Draining the water heater. Draining the water heater will help remove the loose sediments that may be present in your water heater. Sediment build-up in your water heater can cause a variety of problems, such as inefficient heating, heater failure, and sulfur odors (rotten egg smell) in the water. If you water heater is old, you might also consider replacing it to avoid these issues.
If you have had pre-existing poor water quality or pre-existing concerns about bacteria in you water, you may also want to discuss chlorination of your system with your plumber.
Shock chlorination of a well water system. This is done by putting chlorine into the well and running the chlorinated water into the household lines and letting it set over night. Chlorine is then flushed out of the system by running water from the household taps until the chlorine levels meet the accepted residual levels. The chlorine level should be tested before use or consumption of water from a well following shock chlorination. Test kits for chlorine residual are used to determine chlorine levels. The amount of time needed to flush the system will vary depending on the amount of chlorine put into the well. Shock chlorination will help to sanitize the water system and may help loosen sediments built up in the pipes before connection to the municipal system. Flushing water through the lines will help to remove these sediments.
The age and construction of the plumbing inside your house may lead to other issues that may be of concern to homeowners. Galvanized pipes and older or deteriorated plumbing fixtures may leak or fail after being connected to the municipal water system. The change in pressure between your well system and the municipal system may bring these problems to your attention. If you have an older home, we would recommend having your plumbing checked after connection to prevent pipe failure and unnecessary water damage to your home.
For more information or questions you may have, residents should contact the Bernalillo County Public Works Division, Water Resources Program at 848-1524.