Congress recently designated $1 million for the Frank M. Tejeda Center for Excellence in Environmental Operations to target water and wastewater issues that face the U.S. border region. The center, which will be headquartered in San Antonio at the HemisFair Plaza, is under the direction of the Texas Engineering Extension Service (TEEX). TEEX is a member of the Texas A&M University System.
In order to better serve the border region, the Tejeda Center will establish offices in border communities. The center will concentrate on several main objectives including the following: training essential skilled personnel to manage, operate and maintain border water and wastewater facilities; assisting border communities in obtaining grants and scholarships to train water and wastewater personnel; demonstrating new and emerging water and wastewater technologies in border communities; and developing methods and processes that will reduce water pollution and increase water quality to protect public health along the border.
Partnering with TEEX to create the Tejeda Center are New Mexico State University and Arizona State Environmental Technology Training Center – Pima County Community College District.
TEEX Director G. Kemble Bennett says, “The Tejeda Center will provide solutions to problems plaguing the border communities. This congressional funding is a step forward in tackling issues that will have an impact on many who live in these economically distressed areas.”
According to Bennett, Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison played an instrumental role in securing the congressional funding. Her office followed closely the committee hearings and made every effort to ensure that the Tejeda Center was funded.