ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – An Albuquerque fast food restaurant is getting hit with fines for a leak that’s left water gushing down the street for at least a month. The problem — the landlord and the Water Authority don’t have the right to turn it off.
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Water is running from the Boston Market at Sycamore Plaza at Wyoming and Academy onto the street. It’s estimated it’s spewing 75 gallons per hour. “From the pictures I’ve seen it looks like they’ve taken the trouble to actually channel the wastewater into the gutter but have evidently taken few if any steps to correct the leak itself,” said David Morris who works for the Albuquerque/Bernalillo County Water Authority.
The City-County Water Authority says it has been monitoring this situation since early September but the property manager says it has been an issue since mid-August — almost two months.
To put that in perspective — that’s enough water to fill about five backyard swimming pools. A manager at the Boston Market location says they are waiting for a maintenance company from Denver to come fix the leak. He was not able to say when that would be.
The Boston Market has received seven fines so far, costing the business more than $1,100. “Right now, we are still in a drought situation which means the fines that we do issue for water waste are doubled. That’s the message we’re trying to send with these warnings and fines, is that it’s never okay to wastewater but it’s particularly not okay when we’re in a drought and we’re asking everybody to be especially careful,” Morris explains.
They also worry about water damage to the area around the restaurant — and it’s a safety issue for drivers and pedestrians. Morris says moving forward the fines will go up to $1,000 a pop.
Morris says the Water Authority has another inspection scheduled for Friday. The restaurant will be fined again if the problem is still not fixed. The Water Authority says under the so-called water waste ordinance the agency can only fine customers for violations and can not turn the water off at a home or business unless it’s vacant.