ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Days after a massive plastic fire at Mesa del Sol, the neighboring Isleta Pueblo has major concerns about what may be in the soil after the fire was put out. Now, they’re asking for city and state leaders to answer questions about what happened.
The Isleta Pueblo’s governor sent a two-page letter to Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller. The letter stated that since the fire, there has been no communication about the possible lingering effects of the fire.
“We haven’t heard from officials since then, since Sunday,” Isleta Pueblo Environment Division Manager Ramona Montoya said.
The pueblo said it wants to know what exactly burned and if is there a possibility of chemical runoff which could affect the Pueblo’s water supply.
“That threat to us is real,” Montoya said. “The Pueblo is downstream, down gradient, and often downwind of the metropolitan area.”
The Pueblo said that, while it’s happy with how the fire was initially extinguished, they’re worried about the long-term effects to the community, and surrounding areas.
The New Mexico Environment Department (NMED) is the one responsible for monitoring the cleanup, and they said they’ve started the process of determining what is in the soil.
“In any type of spill, you can have long-term effects in the groundwater if it was not addressed, but we’re addressing this very quickly,” said NMED Incident Response Coordinator Stephen Connelly.
The state is now waiting for Atkore to submit a site clean-up plan, which should include steps to reduce long-term risks, such as site sampling, and soil analysis. They also said they have built dirt berms to keep any contaminates in place.
NMED officials also claimed that they will monitor the process and make changes if any issues arise.
“It really doesn’t pose any short-term threat to any of the surrounding areas,” Connelly added.
A meeting will be held on August 21. The Mayor’s Office confirmed that they will be taking part in this meeting.
NMED expects to have an action plan from “Atkore” by the end of the week.