SANDOVAL COUNTY, N.M. (KRQE) – Wednesday night, Sandoval County has been declared an emergency in Jemez due to severe flooding. Snowpack runoff is causing record washouts of the riverbanks. Roads in the area have been flooded and leaving residents rushing to save their homes.  “I got home from work and came to this mess,” said one San Ysidro resident. 

The warm weather is melting a healthy snowpack, which is causing flooding in Jemez and triggering a lot of problems. According to the US Geological Survey, the Jemez River is now seven feet high, two feet higher, and six times the volume flowing than just a week ago.  

“Where the water is diverting, finding its own channel ways making its own channel ways, it’s washing out community roads,” says Felix Nunez, Chief of Police, Village of Jemez Springs. 

New Mexico State Police were called in to shut down one lane of Highway 4 in San Ysidro where water has reached the road. The rushing water also caused the pump systems at the wastewater treatment plant in Jemez to fail-leading it to overflow and contaminate the river. The plant affects 300 residents including San Ysidro. 

“We were notified of manholes were actually seeping over with raw sewage. Our plant director and her staff have been working on it nonstop,” said Nunez. 

The US Forest Service is discouraging fishing and drinking at all points south of the treatment plant. The acting district ranger said the Vista Linda Campground was also closed due to the treatment plant spill. They’re advising people to stay away from the river and recreation areas. 

“The real danger with the river in any floodplain is that you really can’t tell the speed and depths by looking at it so it’s not until you’re in it that you would fill a hole or something dangerous happening,” said Dawn Cordova, Santa Fe National Forest. 

The Jemez Springs Police Department has been distributing sandbags to residents to protect their homes. “It was so normal that the water was just running along the road to within hours, it just was receiving over the road,” said Patricio Trujillo, San Ysidro resident. 

“I’ve been used to it and stuff but I’ve never seen this much water in a long time,” said Dennis Lucero, San Ysidro resident. 

Jemez Police says they’re bringing in trucks to help manually pump the sewage. They say the treatment plant spill is not impacting drinking water. Wednesday night, FEMA is reporting two vehicle water rescues on the Jemez Pueblo.