Rain causes trash accumulation along the Rio Grande

Albuquerque News

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The much-needed rain we’ve been seeing this summer has created a problem in the Rio Grande. People walking along the bosque have noticed more trash in and around the river.

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Since so many of the city’s arroyos accumulate trash and debris, a lot of it ends up in the river. “That is a lot of trash because it never ends. Just a constant stream of trash, as long as you’re watching it never runs out,” says Bill King.

This week visitors to the river were happy to see a good flow of water. But they were stunned to see, quite a bit of trash not only covering the sides of the river but also floating in the water.”Those flood control agencies, they do a great job of capturing and picking up trash and floatables as we call them from all of the arroyos and the floodways. But you can’t get it all and during a flashy storm event, it washes stuff right off the street and into the arroyos and into the river,” says Mike Hamman, CEO of the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District.

In the past month, the metro has seen about an inch to four inches of rainfall in some areas. Flood Control Authority engineer Jerry Lovato says they have about 150 water quality features across the city to catch trash before it gets to the river.

But he says since some trash does slip through the cracks, and it’s important for people to pick up after themselves.”Part of that job is to protect the Rio Grande, that’s what we try to do by these water quality structures behind us. I would just ask for help from everyone in Albuquerque. If you see some trash just pick it up. It ends up in the channel then we have to deal with it,” Lovato says.

Lovato tells us storms have become shorter in duration but higher in intensity, which also makes it challenging to catch the debris before it gets to the river. Last year AMAFCA removed 25,000 cubic yards of sediment, debris, and trash from their facilities that feed into the Rio Grande. They are expecting to surpass that this year since they’ve already cleared out about 20,000 cubic yards.

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