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The Aztec Local News
• April 1-15, 2014 •

Sewer sludge for your garden?

by Mary Girardi

It's true! At one time you could get sewerage sludge from the sewer treatment plants as fertilizer for your garden or field. However, per a Farmington Sewerage Plant employee, due to dangerous chemical contamination of the ground water table, both the Federal EPA and the New Mexico State Environment Department have adopted regulations that have made the liability for its use prohibitive. Yet, the very same state department is telling us that a sewerage lagoon located near domestic water intakes will only pose a problem for pollution of our water if the sewerage lagoon is breached or leaks. With a water table at only three to five feet deep, no matter how the sewerage becomes a contaminate, it will be in the water table. Any potential source of pollution should not be allowed close to domestic water sources.
Hopefully, you, the readers, are not tired of hearing about the proposed "Poo Lagoon" for Payne RV Park north of Aztec. In an email to Representative Bandy, the NM Environment Department (NMED) stated that due to continued input from concerned citizens, they will hold a public hearing.
The hearing date is April 23, 2014, at 9:00AM in the County Commission Room.
It is time for the public to get their questions and statements ready for the NMED. Here is a sampling of questions that come to mind:
1. Can the NMED actually enforce any of the regulations without a court order? What time frame would this involve?
2. How long after a leak is detected will it be before corrective action is taken if the owner does not fix the
3. At the information meeting, NMED stated that it would take a tornado to damage the sewerage lagoon. Can the sewerage lagoon withstand a four foot wall of water when it comes down the canyon and across the highway? Can it withstand a large sized boulder washed down on it?
4. How can one monitoring well actually monitor the ground water contamination when the ground water is at 3 to 5 foot throughout the property? Why is the monitoring well purged three times before a sample is taken?
5. Looking at the purposed park layout above, doesn't this appear to be highly concentrated spacing for the area? Neither Colorado nor New Mexico Environment Departments allow sewerage lagoons for 2000 gallons or less for sewerage treatment. If the park was not slated for this many spaces, how would the sewerage have been handled? If the Payne RV Park stops their expansion after phase one with only 24 RV spaces, will we and the NMED have been hoodwinked? At a discharge rate of 50 gallons a day, 24 RV's would only have a 1,200 gallons a day output. Well below the allowed discharge rate for a sewerage lagoon.
6. Why was the property in question removed from the floodplain? The new location of the sewerage lagoon is now out of the floodplain. A rose by any other name is still a rose and a floodplain is still a floodplain. Just try to tell Mother Nature that it isn't in the floodplain.
7. Since the Payne RV Park is under an LLC, if there is a sewerage lagoon breach or leak and the clean up cost is prohibitive, who will pay for it if the Payne's decide the property is not worth the cost and walk away?
8. At the information meeting, NMED told us that the Paynes want to be good neighbors. Do good neighbors devalue the surrounding property? Do good neighbors put in a sewerage lagoon that by NMED's own admission will stink and is practically in the front yard of the home next door? Do good neighbors use a sewerage system that could pollute water sources when there is a safer way?
9. Why is it that a lined pit for a gas well's water is not allowed by NMED close to a water source, but a sewerage lagoon is ok?
10. Will our elected officials allow this potential disaster to become a taxpayer's burden, as has historically been the norm?
We are at a crossroad. It is time to close the barn door before the horse gets out, rather than waiting for another mess for the county and state to clean up at taxpayer's expense.
There are pages of questions that haven't been asked and more that haven't even been thought of yet. There are folks out there that have personal memories of this property being flooded. We urge you to read the permit application, list your questions, come to the hearing and voice your concerns and questions. A good turn out for this hearing will convince the NMED that we are very concerned about our water quality safety.
This is NOT an Aztec area only problem. This is a STATE problem. Please do not let living in Farmington, Bloomfield, Kirtland, Shiprock or any where else in the state keep you from helping us to protect our water sources from pollution. More chlorine is not the answer.
We have available a DVD with clips of the flash flood last year, personal interviews with previous property owners, and clips from the NMED information meeting. If you would like a DVD, please call 334-3120 and we will be happy to get one to you. Public showing of the DVD will be at the Aztec Library on Saturday, April 5, 2:00 PM and again on Tuesday, April 8 at 6 PM. Hope to see you there.
Please remember April 23, 2014. The NMED needs to hear from YOU!


Group now being formed to look at
starting a local seed saving library


A group looking at forming a seed saving library has been organized following the recent discussion on seed saving libraries at the Aztec Library hosted by Sustainable San Juan and Southwest Seed Library.
What Are Seed Saving Libraries: In 2010 seed saving libraries began to increase around the U.S. Community members sign up for a free Seed Library Card, checking out seeds for free from drawers of seed packets. Borrowers plant seeds, and let some of them go to maturity, harvesting that next generation of seeds, and return them to the library so other people can check them out. A part of a seed library is education on gardening, seed saving, food preservation, bee keeping.
Location of Seed Saving Libraries: Can be at a Public Library, like the Aztec Library or at a Museum. Can be organized by librarians, churches, others are partnerships between libraries or other community organizations, non-profits or individuals.
Why Seed Saving Libraries in San Juan County: To create a network of seed libraries to support home gardeners and local/ small scale market growers, to have locally adapted seed source, seed purity – no GMO, maintain our heirloom and cultural seeds
Where will seeds come from: From individuals who have adapted seeds to our locale, heirloom, folks who like to save seeds.
To learn more about being a part of building a seed saving library in San Juan County, call 716-3915 – Sustainable San Juan.
To learn more about seed saving libraries: Southwest Seed Library –, Richmond Grows –, or
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Open-Sourced Blueprints
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© Copyright 1993-2014 by The Aztec Local News. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the editor.
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The Aztec Local News (TALON) is published semimonthly, on the 1st and middle of each month. As a community-input newspaper, serving the Aztec, Bloomfield, Cedar Hill, Center Point, Flora Vista, Navajo Dam, and Blanco areas, we welcome stories, news, events, poetry, photos, etc. from area residents. Please call 334-1039, fax 334-1551, or e-mail us at:, to give us your input.

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      Editor & Publisher: Candy Frizzell, 505-334-1039
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© Copyright 1993-2014 by The Aztec Local News. All rights reserved.
No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the editor.
The Aztec Local News is a compilation of articles, poems, stories, etc. written by area residents.
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