SOCORRO, N.M. (KRQE) - Socorro residents blame a farmer for a strong stench of rotting carcasses in their city, and now the state's Environment Department is investigating.
For weeks residents have been calling city officials about the smell of rotting flesh.
Robert Lopez said he was one of the concerned residents. At first he didn't know where the strong stench of death was coming from
"That's dead. Can you smell that? That's dead," Lopez said. "We thought it was a dead animal underneath our house."
City Clerk Pat Salome said the calls from other residents about the smell came from across the city.
"I think people felt like they were smelling a dead animal," Salome told KRQE News 13.
But could there really be that many dead animals in Socorro? Lopez said there is no way.
He said he realized the lingering stench started when a large row of manure was dumped in a nearby field. The row of compost stretches for about a quarter mile.
"They dumped one row, and now they're dumping another row on the other side," Lopez said.
He says it's been there for about three weeks, and the smell has only gotten worse.
"This smell gets in our clothes; it's in our nose," Lopez said. "First in the morning. It's putrid. It smells like death."
The complaints have reached New Mexico's Environment Department. A spokesperson told News 13 that there's no evidence, for now, that dead animals are in this heap of manure.
However, using carcasses as compost is allowed if it's done by a licensed facility.
The spokesperson said if it's done right it should not smell like rotting carcasses. Because of the many complaints of the strong smell the, the department's Solid Waste Bureau is now investigating.
"I've spoken with Solid Waste Bureau, and they're looking at the origin of the material from the farm land to see what is in the material," Salome said.
Environment Department officials are looking at the possibility that the manure came from a dairy farm. If that is the case, the Ground Water Quality Bureau may also start investigating.
News 13 called the owner of the property, who doesn't live in Socorro, to see what he had to say about all of this, but he has yet to return our phone calls.
City officials said the owner lives in Belen.
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