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Groundwater cleanup begins in S. Valley

The state has started the cleanup of nitrate-polluted groundwater in Albuquerque’s South Valley.
The New Mexico Office of Natural Resources Trustee is funding the restoration project from a $4.8 million settlement reached with corporations involved in the South Valley Superfund site. The office is providing the financing to the New Mexico Environment Department to oversee project’s contractors.
This site is located east of the Rio Grande near the mouth of the Tijeras Arroyo and the contamination is thought to have been caused by over-fertilization of a farm. Ingesting nitrate-contaminated water can cause methemoglobinemia (blue baby syndrome). The plume occupies a volume of about one square mile.
The first phase of remediation is underway and is an evaluation of the groundwater contamination. That is necessary to determine the appropriate groundwater treatment for the contaminated water and is expected to be completed this summer.

The second phase is the restoration of the groundwater and, if necessary, soil cleanup. That will begin this winter. The goal is to return the groundwater in the aquifer to usable conditions.
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