Our Water Quality
The City of Santa Fe’sWater Division has just released the 2015 AnnualWater Report. It is perhaps the single best source for a comprehensive summary of our municipal water system, including the sources of supply, water rights, estimated future demand, and breakdowns by usage categories and water resources planning. (The report begins on Page 69 in theMay 2016Water Conservation Committee meeting packet, which you can find at www.santafenm.gov/water_conservation_committee.)
The newWater Quality Report or Consumer Confidence Report (Page 85) is an annual EPA requirement for all large public water systems and will be distributed with City of Santa Fe utility bills in May and June. The report includes a summary table with all the recent compliance testing results. The table is broken down into categories of organics, inorganics, radioactive contaminants, and surface water contaminants. If you are a regular reader of this column, you will remember that uranium present in minor amounts in some of the Buckman wells is of geologic origin, as established by isotope testing. There are also individual sections in the report on nitrate, arsenic and the protozoan parasite Cryptosporidium.
The City is required to test for more than 80 contaminants and it also conducts voluntary monitoring of contaminants that are regulated under the EPA’s secondary maximum contamination levels, which are non-enforceable guidelines for managing public water systems. Of particular note this year because of problems with lead in the public water supply of Flint, Michigan, is compliance testing for lead. Compliance testing for lead in Santa Fe water was conducted in August, 2015, and the level reported was well below the EPA’s requirement. In my experience with water testing around Santa Fe, the only elevated lead levels reported were in older downtown homes that were plumbed with lead or galvanized pipe.
I want to call your attention to a conference that will be taking place in Santa Fe later this month. TheWestern Coalition of Arid States (WESTCAS) is holding its Annual Conference at the Inn at Loretto from June 22 to 24. The theme of the conference is “MaximizingWater ResourcesThrough Recharge, Reuse, and Recycle”. City of Santa FeWater Resources CoordinatorWilliam Schneider is one of the presenters and he is currently working with a consulting firm to evaluate potential uses of recycled water to mitigate against climate change. In addition to admittance to the technical program and associated social events, paid registration for the conference includes the options of taking tours of the Santa FeWatershed and the Buckman Direct Diversion. For more information about the conference, visit the WESTCAS website.
The City of Santa Fe is now accepting applications for three vacant positions on theWater Conservation Committee. If you are interested and you want to learn more about the committee and member roles and responsibilities, as well as the nominating process, please open this link:
StephenWiman holds an M.S. and Ph.D. in geology and is a retired petroleum geologist. He spent 11 years locally in water testing, interpretation of test results and water remediation. He is a member of the City of Santa Fe’sWater Conservation Committee and he serves on the Board of the Santa FeWatershed Association. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.