SOCORRO, N.M. (KRQE) – It used to be a battery plant near Socorro. The pollution from the plant has now caused groundwater contamination. A New Mexico congresswoman is pressing the federal government to make this a priority to clean up.

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“This is an ongoing thing, this is not going to be a one-shot deal. It’s going to take 10 years to get this clean,” said Mayor of Socorro, Ravi Bhasker.

Just on the outskirts of Socorro needs to be cleaned up from the decades of dumping a chemical called Trichloroethene in the groundwater from an old battery plant. This was identified as a superfund clean-up site in 2007 after the first groundwater test came back positive in 1980.

The plant has long since closed but the groundwater contamination stretches over almost more than 9,000 ft. high and almost 2,000 wide. The state has been monitoring more than 35 wells to see how much the contamination spreads.

Close to 100 homes have been affected by groundwater contamination. The New Mexico Department of Health asked in 2015 to study cancer rates in the area. Their report didn’t show unusual rates in comparison with the larger New Mexico population.

It has now caught the attention of New Mexico Rep. Yvette Herrell, who has even sent a letter to the EPA. She is urging the feds to make the clean-up could start this year since federal funding has been secured.

“It was receiving funding from this infrastructure bill is that what we call shovel-ready, meaning that it has a remedy chosen and the design completed, in this case since September 2018. All that we’ve been waiting on since then is the funding to get started with the cleanup effort,” said Anthony McGlown of the New Mexico Environment Department.

There are 16 superfun sites in New Mexico. The Socorro Eagle Picher site could have a price tag of $20 to $30 million to clean up.