LAS VEGAS, N.M. (KRQE) – In the midst of Las Vegas’s 4th of July celebration, the town has a rank smell seeping through downtown. “It started about, I think, two Fridays ago,” said RaeDawn Price.
Las Vegas residents are complaining about a smell caused by a sewage leak. “It goes down the south end of Moreno, which is the back side of Bridge Street,” said Price.
Now they say it’s making its way into the Gallinas River. “It’s a decline, so it was going towards the river and it was pooling up outside, down on the bottom,” said Price.
As the town tries to recover from the wildfire and prep for potential flooding, they’re now dealing with another blow – this leak is wreaking havoc in an already battered town. “It was leaking to the buildings. Luckily, it didn’t seep into any of the buildings on Bridge Street but it was getting pretty close,” said Price.
Drinking water is not being impacted because that water comes from higher up but residents say it can’t be ignored. “These issues need to be a priority,” said Price.
In a town needing a boost in tourism, Price worries the smell will be a deterrent for visitors. “Our roads are torn up, or our most desirable area in town is blocked off and barricaded and has a foul smell,” said Price.
On top of that, she says the city is not communicating. “There hasn’t [sic] been any service announcements regarding the leak,” said Price.
While she hopes the city will start taking these issues seriously, for now, she worries about people coming through town unaware of the leak and the risk of E.coli to the community.
“It only takes a little bit to get into. One wrong turn or a new person joins in and doesn’t realize what’s going on and, just run [sic] through it, and before they know it, they are just covered in that raw sewage,” said Price.
She understands issues happen, especially in older areas like this one. “Some things are hard to ignore no matter how pretty the area is, no matter how beautiful the buildings are, or how great the plaza looks,” said Price.
She says it needs to be addressed sooner rather than later. “People just aren’t going to want to come down there if they have to navigate all of those road closures and then, of course, the sewage going down,” said Price.
The city did confirm that there is a sewage leak but wouldn’t comment beyond that. Price says she has seen city workers out recently, trying to pump the sewage.