Officials Say No Contaminated Water in Tucumcari



After a week of on-site evaluations and meetings with the Environment Department and the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the City of Tucumcari is nearing a resolution for the petroleum and sewage spill that occurred on the evening of July 31.

Representatives from the EPA Region VI Office toured the Powell Addition on Thursday, August 3, 2017, visiting with residents impacted by the spill. EPA contractors collected air samples around the impacted area and identified surface contamination that will be removed by the City of Tucumcari.

In addition, the City of Tucumcari collected water samples from a local well to test for total coliform and fecal coliform contamination. Test results indicated that the water was negative for both total coliform and E-Coli. According to EPA representatives, on site contamination of well water with petroleum products was highly unlikely due to the limited nature of the spill.

The source of the contamination has not been identified despite a thorough investigation by the NM Environment Department Hazardous Waste Bureau and Petroleum Storage Tank Bureau. The spill heavily impacted the Tucumcari wastewater treatment facility; however, no discharge of the substance from the plant was detected.

EPA has taken samples from the wastewater treatment facility for testing and identification of the substance. Once samples have been analyzed, arrangements will be made for a contractor to remove the substance from the facility.

The precautions set by the city regarding open flame and use of wells have been lifted. “The precautionary restrictions that were put in place were to ensure the safety of our residents until we could determine the level of impact. We are relieved that the well tests showed no coliform contamination and that after the EPA assessment, they have no concerns regarding petroleum in the water table”, stated Mayor Ruth Ann Litchfield.

Residents with health concerns related to the spill can contact the NM Department of Health Epidemiology and Response hotline at 505-827-0006.

Individuals with further questions regarding the incident may contact City Manager Jared Langenegger at 575-403-5669.


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