PLACITAS TRAILS WATER COOPERATIVE
Mailing address: 04 Dusty Trail Drive
Contact Number (505) 350-6335
The Placitas Trails Water Cooperative is a non-profit cooperative association, owned by you the members of the association as defined in the association bylaws. Board members are elected at the annual membership meeting in November and serve for a three-year term. They are volunteers who serve without compensation. New candidates are welcomed.
The water system belongs to us, the members of the Co-op, residents of Placitas Trails (main, North, South, South II, and Roadrunner). There is no city, county, state, or federal organization responsible for making it work. The Board is responsible for making it work, and getting the water to each of the members. It is regulated by the New Mexico Environment Department, Drinking Water Bureau. Water is tested monthly to ensure it is free from biological contaminants and meets all federal EPA requirements. (Please see the annual water quality Consumer Confidence Report published annually and included elsewhere on this web site.)
The system was started in 1985 to fill the needs of the growing subdivision for a water system. The earlier houses built in Trails used small community wells to serve several houses. There were three or four of these small wells dug before the Co-op was formed. The Developers of Trails installed the Co-op water system, (the wells, pumps, and lines) and expanded it as the subdivision grew. Lot purchasers bought into the system concurrent with purchasing their lots. The Developers were deeply involved, along with the Board of Directors, in keeping the Co-op running until 1993, when the Developers turned the system over to the Members.
The cooperative is now run by a Board of Directors composed of members from Trails, with input from the membership, and help from other member volunteers.
The Board contracts with Sentry Management who serves as the Coop's Systems Administrator. Sentry Management has been servicing associations like Placitas Trails for over 42 years and they are located in 17 states. The Board also contracts with Michael Alvidrez who serves as Systems Operator. He is a level four Certified Water Operator, the highest certification offered by the state of New Mexico.
We have three wells, which are from 450 to 600 feet deep. They provide approximately 16 million gallons of water a year to about 150 households currently connected to the system. The system is set up to provide water to 156 lots, when all the lots are developed.
All our wells are in the Santa Fe Group aquifer. It has been tested to assure us that there is sufficient water to meet our needs for the foreseeable future. Our water is at the low end of what is considered hard water (a recent test showed 152, hard water being 150 - 300; very hard water is 300 ), and tends to scale whatever it comes in contact with, such as sinks, tile, faucets, etc.
Water conservation is necessary, as we are consuming nearly all of our allotted water. Additional consumers will force the Coop to purchase additional water rights. We therefore strongly encourage using it with discretion and care. Native plants and trees used in landscaping can be self-sustaining after a couple of years, as opposed to foreign plantings and trees which must be watered their entire lives. Our water rates reflect our conservation philosophy. Reasonable usage is at reasonable rates; high usage carries a discouragingly higher rate.
As stated before, it is our Co-op, and we are the ones who must make it work. We are always looking for members who are interested in helping. Give us a call at the number above if you are interested in participating.
Some additional information for you about sewage systems: All the homes in Trails have septic tank sewage systems. If you are not familiar with them, here are a few things you need to know.
Household sewage goes into the septic tank buried in your yard, outside your home. The tank is usually made of concrete and holds about 1000 gallons of raw sewage. Natural occurring anaerobic bacteria in the tank break down the sewage into a more benign discharge, which then goes to the leach field where it is released into the earth where it is filtered before reaching the aquifer once more. The leach field is usually a buried trench containing a gravel bed that allows the discharge to percolate into the ground. A sludge is left behind in the septic tank after the bacteria has done its work. It includes indigestible paper products, plastics and other items that should not have been flushed down your commode or drainpipes. It is recommended that the septic tank sludge be pumped out once a year. If the tank gets too full of sludge, the sludge will overflow into the leach field and plug the lines. If plugged up, the lines will have to be replaced, which is much more expensive than the cost of pumping out the tank on an annual basis. It may also, eventually, contaminate the aquifer from which we get our drinking water!
The natural bacterial action sometimes needs supplemental help. Detergents, disinfectants, drain cleaners, etc. tends to kill the bacteria in the tank or make it less effective. You local hardware store, or septic tank pumping company can help you choose a septic tank additive, which is just poured down the drain monthly.
Trees and bushes should not be planted near the leach field as roots will grow down into it and make it less effective, or clog it completely.
Garbage, especially grease and fats should be disposed of with your trash, not into your septic tank system. A sink garbage disposal should be used sparingly. Some septic tank companies will void their warranty if a garbage disposal causes leach field damage.