The county recently traded a 2.3-acre parcel that it bought in Mesa del Sol development for $525,000 for a 640-acre, $550,000 parcel near Encino Road and the Northwest Loop Road in Sandoval County that will eventually become the new landfill site.

The county plans to turn 500 acres of the acquired land into the landfill, making it significantly larger than the current landfill site, which is 160 acres.

The move is significant for its economic development potential, said Sandoval County Manager Phillip Rios and State Land Commissioner Ray Powell.

From left, Sandoval County Manager Phillip Rios, State Land Commissioner Ray Powell and Mesa del Sol President Mike Daly sign papers in a ceremony to exchange state trust land in Sandoval County for a parcel at Mesa del Sol. (Jim Thompson/Albuquerque Journal)

“This is really an economic venture,” Powell said.

While the state looks for a business partner to develop the land at Mesa del Sol, the county is counting on doubling the revenue it currently receives annually from the existing landfill, Rios said.

“The opportunity to generate revenue – because it’s an enterprise – is tremendous,” he said. “Right now, we generate on our landfill site, which we only do construction debris and a little bit of household waste, a little more than $3 million year.”

Rios said he can see attracting customers from neighboring communities, such as Santa Fe.

“With this one, we’re able to serve the region,” he said. “We’re already talking to Santa Fe and other communities that don’t have it. We expect that, once this land gets permitted, we expect to generate double that amount of revenue.”

The site has already been explored environmentally and historically for its viability, Rios said, and it passed muster on both accounts.