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NMED Announces Plume Testing Results, Cleanup Strategy

Victoria Edwards
Wells Park residents expressed their concerns over a toxic plume, in their community at the neighborhood association meeting on Tuesday.

Laun-Dry Supply Company is moving toward cleaning up a decades-old solvent spill near downtown Albuquerque. The state's Environment Department addressed a packed Wells Park Neighborhood Association meeting yesterday.

The state's Environment Department updated neighbors about the latest testing conducted on homes in the path of the solvent plume. But despite knocking on more than 25 doors, only three people consented to the tests, according to NMED, and those homes showed very low levels of contamination.

But community member Catherine Mexal said that's an incomplete sample, and the Environment Department didn't promote the testing process effectively.

"I wish they had come to someone in the community sooner, so that the community could have done outreach to get more people involved," Mexal said.

NMED also presented Laun-Dry's cleanup proposal: bugs would be released in the ground to break down toxins, and carbon-coated sand particles would create a barrier to stop the plume's spread. The Environment Department will next start testing businesses, and along with Laun-Dry, will notify people within a mile of groundwater contamination.

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