Bosque Farms — Cleanup is underway from a sewage spill at the village of Bosque Farms wastewater treatment plant that occurred Monday, Jan. 29.

Photo courtesy of the village of Bosque Farms
The sewage spill at the Bosque Farms wastewater treatment plant was caused by a lift pump station failure. Workers made piles of sewage for collection. The plant was never offline.

Bosque Farms Mayor Wayne Ake released a statement Friday, Feb. 2, regarding the spill.

He wrote the village is investigating the spill’s cause; however, they believe the spill was contained within the plant grounds and it did not affect the ditch located behind the plant.

On Tuesday, Feb. 6, when questioned by the Valencia County News-Bulletin, Vernon Abeita, the Bosque Farms village clerk/administrator, was able to give more information about the spill.

Abeita said the effluent water has been tested and the village is awaiting the results, which he said would be available on Wednesday, Feb. 7.

“The sewage spill did not get into the clear ditch behind (the wastewater treatment plant), the sewage spill did not get into the river,” said Abieta.

He confirmed Bosque Farms Village Councilor Erica DeSmet’s social media post, saying the spill was caused by a lift pump station failure and he added the plant was never offline.

The village has engaged in a month-long contract with the Pueblo of Isleta to support ongoing repair and cleanup endeavors, as well as to oversee plant operations, primarily due to the unavailability of a certified employee within the village.

Jesse Jones | News-Bulletin photos
The Bosque Farms wastewater treatment plant clarifier.

Public works employees from the Pueblo of Isleta, in collaboration with members of the New Mexico Rural Water Association, holding a wastewater 4 certification, are actively involved in rectifying issues with the clarifier and ensuring its optimal functioning.

The village is currently without a certified employee following David Chavez, the village’s utility director, being put on administrative leave as of Jan. 30. The specific reason for this action has not been disclosed, as it pertains to confidential personnel matters.

Abeita mentioned the cleanup process would require some time due to the spill not only impacting the plant grounds but also affecting the village’s maintenance yard situated nearby.

Before Ake’s official statement, photos circulated on social media showed workers cleaning up the sludge and some people in the community claimed workers from Isleta were dumping the Pueblo’s sludge in Bosque Farms. Rather, the workers were helping to clean up the waste.

Abeita stated he is awaiting an estimate from American Pumping to determine the extent of the sewage spill, as they currently lack precise information regarding the volume of the spill.

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Jesse Jones lives in Albuquerque with his wife and son. Jesse graduated from of the University of New Mexico twice. This spring, he graduated with a degree in multimedia journalism and, in 2006, he received a bachelor’s degree in university studies with an emphasis in photojournalism. He is a current fellow of the New Mexico Local News Fund.