As I wrote back in January, a ruptured pipe led to MILLIONS of gallons of wastewater being dumped into the Rio Grande every single day for four months.

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Now, New Mexico wants El Paso Water Utilities to pay up. They say that over a BILLION GALLONS of raw sewage into the river near Sunland Park, New Mexico.

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Here’s what the New Mexico Environment Cabinet Secretary had to say:

“El Paso Water’s flagrant disregard for the health and welfare of New Mexicans in Sunland is astonishing. We’re holding this polluter accountable for their malfeasance.”

El Paso Water disputes the claim that their actions caused “adverse impact to the public health or the environment”. 

The Water department says their replacement of the ruptured pipeline and their clean-up of the riverbed was done “in coordination with regulatory agencies” including the EPA, the Texas Environmental Commission AND (this is a key claim) in cooperation with the New Mexico Environment Department. "

 

James Kenney, New Mexico Environment Cabinet Secretary

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New Mexico is suing because the raw sewage ran for over a mile inside Sunland Park. But, it contaminated the river along the El Paso border with Juarez for several miles. So, our Water Department may have polluted New Mexico but we polluted our OWN city much worse.

The initial cause of the pipe rupture was listed as “corrosion”. Literally, the pipe burst because it was rusty, releasing up to 10 million gallons of raw sewage EVERY day for four months. This could be a factor in whether this fine is upheld.  It sounds like the damage was caused by improper maintenance, something that should have been very preventable.

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Suggestion: if the City of El Paso could get former President Trump to pay his outstanding bills for his campaign rally we could pay off the Water Department fine and possibly have some left over to make sure no OTHER pipes are on the verge of busting. That would be a win/win.

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