ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The Albuquerque Metro Area Flood Control Authority spends a lot of their time making sure trash and debris doesn’t get into the Rio Grande. They say homeless camps can be a big contributor to the problem.
It’s a beautiful area with a nice view of the mountains, but if you look closer you’ll see a lot of garbage and junk lying in the Northern Diversion Channel near 4th street. Nolan Bennett, a field engineer for AMAFCA says this is normal. “As you can see, we have a couch, a chair, [and] a mattress along with other debris,” said Bennett.
Bennett says homeless people often use the tunnels like the one at Mariposa Channel as a place to live. He says that’s where a lot of the furniture at the North Diversion Channel is coming from. He says his crew cleaned up a homeless camp at the Mariposa channel this week.
“There was a sofa, a chair, and other material that indicated somebody was living in that area,” said Bennett. “All of that material will eventually end up in the river if we don’t clean it out,” he said.
He says not only do those clean ups require a lot of manpower and resources but if they don’t get there in time, those camps and the people living in them can be swept away by floodwaters. “Unfortunately, I’ve worked for AMAFCA for five summers, and each summer, somebody has died in one of our facilities,” said Bennett.
AMAFCA works with the city to find and clean up the homeless camps from their faciliites. They have more than 130 water quality features, like the Northern Diversion Channel, to keep trash and debris out of the river.
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