I appreciate the opportunity to set the record straight regarding recent publications discussing a nitrate sample taken from one city well and the city's timeline to notify residents of the nitrate sampling results. A handful of media outlets recently published stories alleging that the city delayed a drinking water nitrate notification by three months.
These publications incorrectly identified key information about the timeline of the city's nitrate notification. Safe drinking water is an issue city officials take very seriously. It is also an issue with which Española's residents are rightfully concerned. Thus, this mis-information (sic) is too critical to go uncorrected.
The city first received notice of its elevated nitrate levels on March 6, 2019. Any statement that the city received notice on November 27, 2018, is incorrect. On March 6, the city published electronic notification of the elevated nitrate levels on its website and Facebook page. his same day it broadcasted notifications on KDCE 950AM radio. On March 7, the city posted notifications of elevated nitrates at City Hall and at the Española Library. The city did not delay three months in notifying residents of elevated nitrates. Rather, the city notified residents without haste, providing notifications of its nitrate levels on March 6—the same day the city received notice of elevated nitrates—and again on March 7.
Importantly, the city's drinking water has been tested for nitrates three times since November 27, and these test results demonstrated that the city's nitrate levels have been below regulatory limits or standards on all three occasions.
Managing water supplies in the Rio Grande Basin is a challenging feat because of the hydrology of the Basin and the water needs of the city and its neighbors. But the city will meet this challenge head-on.
The city has been and is actively working on securing funding for a new drinking water treatment facility, one that increases the city's ability to treat our drinking water now and into the future with the best available technologies. This undertaking will require the commitments of funding, planning, leadership and time. The city, however, remains steadfast in its commitment to ensure safe drinking water to its residents.
Javier E. Sanchez is the mayor of Española.