Settlement funding to remediate groundwater at two Superfund sites in Albuquerque could be used to partially fund the Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority’s Southside Wastewater Reclamation Plant Outfall Restoration project. The Office of Natural Resources Trustee is seeking public comments on a proposal to use $566,000 of money remaining from settlements in the Atchison Topeka and Santa Fe Tie-Treater and South Valley Superfund cases to help the outfall restoration project. The ONRT reached two settlements in the early 2000s that resulted in about $5.8 million of funding for projects to improve groundwater quality and restore habitat. Of that $5.8 million, $566,000 remains. The ATSF Tie-Treater site operated as a railroad tie treating facility from 1908 until 1972 and is located near the Rio Grande State Park.
All week, we look for stories that help New Mexicans better understand what’s happening with water, climate, energy, landscapes and communities around the region. Thursday morning, that news goes out via email. To subscribe to that weekly email, click here. Here’s a snippet of what subscribers read this week:
Last week the New Mexico Environment Department announced its withdrawal from a Gov. Susana Martinez-era lawsuit that challenged federal clean water protections. Steve Terrell reported on that for the Santa Fe New Mexican.
SOCORRO, NEW MEXICO—Just north of Socorro, a squat, square building sits on the west side of Interstate-25. There’s a gate across the driveway, but it’s wide open. And it’s easy enough to drive right onto the Eagle Picher Carefree Battery Superfund site. There are signs of other visitors, too: Fresh graffiti graces the walls, inside and out, and a wooden pulpit poses more questions than it can answer. Rain has poured through holes in the ceiling, pooling on the concrete slab.
The Animas River turned a sickly orange-brown as waste from an abandoned mine near Silverton, Colorado flowed into the river. The water with high level of heavy metals has made its way down the river into New Mexico. The cause? A breach from a team working for the Environmental Protection Agency that was trying to treat some of the contaminants in the mine. Here are a few things you should know about the spill as well as some other background.