New Mexico Environment Department to hold public forum on dairies' pollution-abatement plans

May 15, 2019

The New Mexico Environment Department on Friday will hold a public meeting on its plans for reducing and preventing pollution from Doña Ana County dairies into the groundwater affecting local communities. 

The 13 dairies along Highway 10 south of Las Cruces along the way to Anthony, NM, called "Dairy Row," are joined in the Doña Ana Dairy Abatement Plan Stage I (2010) and Stage II (2013) that were approved by the Environment Department and members of the New Mexico Citizens Dairy Coalition.  

The abatement plans were intended to prevent more dairy waste from entering groundwater by lining all manure lagoons with plastic liners. In addition, the plans call for quarterly monitoring of the groundwater to track migration of the pollution and to determine if the plastic liners and other actions are effective in preventing new pollution.

The New Mexico Citizens Dairy Coalition called for this meeting last year because the public remains uninformed about the progress (or lack thereof) in abating the existing pollution that the plans should provide. In addition, lining the manure pits might not be enough to stop the problem. The plan and monitoring reports can be reviewed here.  

"Nine out of 10 New Mexicans rely on groundwater for our drinking water. Protecting our families' drinking water from industrial and agricultural pollution is critical. The public deserves to know more," said Dan Lorimier, Citizens Dairy Coalition chair. 

 What: New Mexico Environment Department public meeting on Doña Ana County dairies' pollution-abatement plan
When: 5 to 7 p.m. this Friday, May 17
Where: City of Anthony Chambers, 820 Highway 478, Anthony.  
The New Mexico Citizens Dairy Coalition is made up of local water-quality groups and residents who experience the impacts of living close to ever-growing industrial dairies.