A wastewater reuse project will create job and research opportunities at the New Mexico State University's Agricultural Science Center at Tucumcari.
The project is a collaboration between the city and the science center, said City Manager Doug Powers.
Powers said the wastewater, which has been processed and disinfected by the city's waster water treatment plant will be pumped to the science center in order for them to continue research at that location. He said the goal is to help keep jobs in Tucumcari and keep the center viable.
This project will allow the science center to start researching on a large scale, said Leonard Lauriault, forage agronomist.
Lauriault said the center had been conducting arid and dry land research on a smaller scale due to the lack of rain fall and irrigation water from the Arch Hurley Conservancy District. He said project will present the center with opportunities to expand their research and a possibility of increased jobs.
Lauriault said the center will be able to continue with traditional research while studying and cataloging the impact the wastewater will have on the environment and what crops it can be used to grow. He said currently animal food crops can be irrigated with wastewater, though it is illegal to use the water to irrigate human food crops.
Lauriault said their is a question of what is carried in the water after it has been treated, their research will help to identify any substances such as pharmaceuticals that might remain in the water even after treatment.
Lauriault said the studies could prove beneficial to the use of municipal wastewater as an alternate source of irrigation.