New Mexico tribe worries about water pollution from big city

A view of Isleta Pueblo in New Mexico. Photo from Seven Directions Custom Tours

Leaders of Isleta Pueblo in New Mexico are worried that their water is being contaminated by the state's biggest city.

The city of Albuquerque operates the Southside Wastewater Reclamation Plant near the Rio Grande River that flows through the reservation. The facility has repeatedly violated the Clean Water Act, according to a review of Environmental Protection Agency documents by the Public Health New Mexico reporting project.

The most recent report on the facility cited a "Significant Violation." That has upset tribal leaders, who rely on the river for ceremonies and everyday life.

"Our ceremonies and our religious culture here in our community are of utmost importance to us,” Secretary Verna Teller told Public Health New Mexico. “That’s what’s kept us who we are as a people. And so when there’s any threat to that, it’s very frightening for our people. It’s a threat to our existence as far as we’re concerned.”

Teller said the tribe has had to stop using the river at certain times due to visible pollution.

Get the Story:
Small Tribe, Big River: Isleta Eyes Pollution In The Rio Grande (Public Health New Mexico 2/19)

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