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Sewage dumped into Rio Grande
By The Associated Press July 14, 2000 5:23 a.m. CDT
RIO RANCHO, N.M. (AP) -- Approximately 400,000 to 500,000 gallons of untreated sewage was pumped into the Rio Grande after a mechanical problem at a treatment plant, state officials said.
The state Environment Department warned people down river from the plant near Albuquerque to stay out of the Rio Grande. Officials said they were unsure Thursday night how far the waste had traveled.
Tito Madrid, director of field operations for the agency, said the sewage from Waste Water Treatment Plant No. 2 went into the river over a four-hour span Thursday.
``Rio Rancho staff is trying to fix it and mediate the damage,'' he said. ``The discharge now is a lot clearer, and sludge and solids aren't present in the water.''
Madrid said the spill would not affect Albuquerque's drinking water because the city uses deep wells to tap into the aquifer.
Copyright 2000 The Associated Press
-- Martin Thompson (firstname.lastname@example.org), July 14, 2000
July 14, 2000
Glitch at plant dumps sewage into Rio Grande The Associated Press
Stay away from the river. That is the message authorities are getting out to the public today as they try to determine the extent and severity of a sewage spill making its way down the Rio Grande. A mechanical failure is to blame for hundreds of thousands of gallons of untreated sewage being discharged into the Rio Grande from a Rio Rancho wastewater-treatment plant.
The New Mexico Environment Department issued a warning Thursday to all people south of the plant to stay out of the Rio Grande. Tito Madrid, director of field operations for the agency, said his office received a report Thursday morning that Waste Water Treatment Plant No. 2 was discharging untreated sewage into the river. He said sewage spilled into the river from about 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. He estimated between 400,000 and 500,000 gallons were discharged. Crews started to treat the discharge with chlorine Thursday afternoon.
Madrid said the spill would not affect Albuquerque's drinking water because the city draws its water from deep wells unconnected to the river. He added that most of the water drawn from the Rio Grande is used for irrigation. Rio Rancho, like most other cities along the Rio Grande, has a permit to discharge a certain amount of treated wastewater into the river. Madrid explained that Thursday's spill pushed that amount over the city's limit.
"They're violating (the permit) because they have more than zero percent fecal matter going into the river," he said.
-- Martin Thompson (email@example.com), July 14, 2000.