EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – About 2,600 residents in Montana Vista will be getting an upgrade to a “modern wastewater system,” said state Rep. Mary Gonzalez, D-San Elizario, on Tuesday, June 6.

Both Gonzalez and state Sen. Cesar Blanco, D-El Paso, announced that El Paso Water will be receiving $29 million from the Texas Water Development Board. The funding is a combination of grants and loans.

The money will be used to construct a wastewater system for about 775 homes in the area, Gonzalez said.

Once the new system is built, residents will stop using septic tanks.

The money is coming from the Economically Distressed Areas Program.

“Not having an effective wastewater collection system poses public health concerns and potentially causes environmental harm. Hooking up to a wastewater system will improve resident’s health,” Gonzalez said. “El Paso Water is about to complete the $15.7 million Phase I of the project, which will bring modern wastewater service to 800 homes. Today’s award will extend service to another 2,616 residents in 775 homes.”

Construction of this latest phase of improvements will begin in April 2024, Gonzalez said, and will finish up by the end of September 2025.

In all, Phase II calls for the installation of 16.8 miles of pipe of various sizes and 196 manholes for maintenance. The state will give $20.25 million to El Paso Water and lend the water utility $8.68 million at a low interest rate to complete the project.

After Phase I and II are finished, about 821 homes in Montana Vista will remain unconnected to the new system, according to Gonzalez’s office.

“For decades, the Montana Vista community has lacked access to wastewater service due to aging sewer facilities that are in disrepair, contributing to excessive costs, odor, and environmental harm,” Blanco said. “This funding will help protect the residents in the Montana Vista area to improve public health and ensure families have access to a clean, centralized wastewater collection.”

The Montana Vista community is located in the eastern portion of the county with 2,396 households with 8,132 residents, according to Blanco’s office.

“These residents have received water service through either El Paso Water or the El Paso County East Montana Water System since 1996, but no wastewater service. Currently, the residents rely on on-site sewage facilities, cesspools, or discharge wastewater directly onto the surface,” Blanco’s office said in a news release.