KUNM

Isleta Pueblo

U.S. Army

Los Alamos National Laboratory has been one of the country’s foremost nuclear research centers ever since the atomic bomb was developed there in the 1940s. Weapons and engineering programs continue there today, but the U.S. Department of Energy is still cleaning up contamination left over from World War II.

Robin JP via Flickr / creative commons license

Pollution flowing out of Albuquerque in the Rio Grande is a problem for Isleta Pueblo and other downstream communities. Now the city is boosting oversight of water contaminants. 

Ed Williams


The Secretary of the Interior met with leaders of Isleta Pueblo Friday to return nearly 90,000 acres of ancestral land to the tribe.

Ed Williams-KUNM

Albuquerque’s wastewater treatment plant spilled nearly 6 million gallons of partially treated sewage into the Rio Grande last Friday. Public Health New Mexico’s Ed Williams reports there was an equipment failure at one of the plant’s pumping facilities.

Officials with the Southside Wastewater Reclamation Plant say there was a spike in power during last week’s heavy snowstorm. That power spike disabled a pump station.

Plant Operations Manager Charles Leder says backup systems should have protected the facility from power fluctuations.

Rita Daniels

Businesses, military bases and city utilities have dozens of permits to release pollution into the Rio Grande watershed. Albuquerque’s wastewater treatment plant is one of the biggest sources of discharges into the river.

The plant has had trouble with regulators and neighboring communities in the past, but they’re making some headway. 

On a recent sunny day in Albuquerque’s South Valley, water utility workers bent over a grate taking readings of the city’s treated wastewater as it rushes from the Southside Water Reclamation Plant into the Rio Grande.

Ed Williams-KUNM

 

Editor's Note: After we published this story, a spokesperson for Kirtland Air Force Base wrote with a series of objections to the story. Kirtland did not allege any factual inaccuracy in our story but we did make a change to reflect that Kirtland's lead discharges into the Rio Grande watershed are not in violation of environmental laws. You can read all of their objections and our responses here

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