Mag makes water plans
Since the Trujillo Well in Magdalena went dry last Wednesday morning, various communities and agencies have been working with Magdalena officials to supply water to residents.
Magdalena village officials, with the help of state agency representatives and community workers, have implemented short-term plans to renew water service to town residents on schedule thus far, Marshal Larry Cearley said Tuesday evening.
“We have the school well online now, and the Spear well as of today,” Cearley said. “We are continuing to monitor the Trujillo Well because it will replenish itself to some extent, although not enough to bring us back to full service. The wells will be pumped intermittently so as not to over-tax any one of them.
The Very Large Array and city of Socorro, among others, continue to supply potable water on a daily basis. That water is being pumped back into the system through a high-elevation hydrant on Kelly Road. The Hop Canyon Fire Department will bring in a load of non-potable water for showering, washing dishes and doing laundry this week.
On Friday Magdalena city clerk Rita Broaddus said the city has applied for and received an exploratory permit from the New Mexico Office of the State Engineer to begin searching for the best place to drill a new well.
“What we need now is the money to drill,” Broaddus said.
The city has requested for emergency funding through Community Development Block Grant emergency funding program out of Washington, D.C., the New Mexico Department of Finance Administration and the New Mexico Finance Authority as well as the New Mexico Environmental Department.
In the interim, the city worked on its short-term plan, including to bring back online the Spears Well, which was taken offline six to eight years ago because it did not meet new codes for managing chlorine levels. There were also some plumbing and electrical problems with the well.
“It only pumps 30-35 gallons per minute, so it is not a production well for the city,” Broaddus said. “For now, we can take the chlorinator from the Trujillo Well and put it on the Spears Well to ensure that the water is properly chlorinated.”
The Trujillo Well pumped 180-200 gallons per minute, before the well went dry. The city has been working on the plumbing and electrical to bring the Spears Well up to date, and then will begin filtering water from this well into the system.
Cearley said that portable toilets have been set up throughout town for residents’ use until everyone has city water again.
A short-term plan was outlined Friday evening by Joe Savage, District IV Area Manager of the Drinking Water Bureau, a division of the New Mexico Environment Department, during a town meeting. Accompanying Savage were Dennis McQuillan, also of the Drinking Water Bureau, and Stacy Timmons, Senior Geological Research Associate with the New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources of New Mexico Tech, Magdalena Mayor Sandy Julian, and other village officials.
The short-term plan includes continuing the distribution of bottled water through various village community centers, including the senior center and the fire department. Officials are paying particular attention to the elderly, ill and frail, using a checklist of names and addresses of those who might not be able to get out to pick up drinking water. Water will be delivered to those residents, and they will be monitored for health purposes. In addition, officials are doing their best to ensure resident livestock and pets are also provided with adequate water.
The village of Magdalena can be contacted at 575-854-2261 to add people to the list for closer monitoring, or animals in need of attention.
The village has yet another well that is being tested and considered for re-activation. The “old” Benjamin Well is located out of town. It is currently not equipped to provide potable water. And is downhill from the town, water would have to be pumped uphill.
“This (re-activating the Benjamin well) would be cost-prohibitive and is not our best option,” Savage said on Tuesday. “But, we are investigating every possible short-term solution that we have right now.”
The village will bring in a team of geologists to test water wells, and is offering free testing of private wells while they are in town. Anyone interested in having their well tested, contact the village of Magdalena at 575-854-2261. The village will also be hosting a water conservation fair in the next June 18 and 19.