La Cieneguilla residents concerned over possible Santa Fe River contamination

New Mexico

(KRQE)- There’s unrest in a New Mexico ranching community as locals grow frustrated over possible water contamination.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports that residents in La Cieneguilla just south of Santa Fe noticed gray water in the Santa Fe River. Officials told them an “upset” happened at the city’s wastewater treatment plant, something community members say they should have been told about long ago.

Tuesday, residents learned the “upset” occurred between June 19 and June 22 and released effluent which is unsafe for use in public areas. The New Mexican reports that a city spokeswoman stated the liquid discharge contained “various coliform bacteria that include E. coli”.

Residents emailed five Santa Fe County commissioners this week, concerned about the water’s possible impact on wildlife. However, city spokeswoman Lilia Chacon told the New Mexican the treatment plant’s malfunction was corrected and that “treated water leaving the plant is within standards”.

She states that additional water sources can contribute to the water’s quality as it heads downstream. Two La Cieneguilla residents, along with County Commissioner Rudy Garcia, toured the river and identified several other threats to their water source including dams created by invasive beavers and roadways needing repairs to offset flooding potential.

The city manager has stated a review of the incident will take place.

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