Under the EPA GAP Grant, there are some major environmental concerns. Air Quality ( outdoor and indoor). Drinking Water (surface water and ground water). Pesticides (private and commercial). Solid Waste (household trash, household hazardous waste, white goods, recycling, and ordinances).They change from year to year depending on the priority of the Council or Governor's decisions.
2015 priority was Drinking Water and Solid Waste.
A new drinking well has been drilled. It is located West of Ulee Quintana's residence. This new well will be connected to the existing drinking well. Before, if anything would have happened to the existing well, the village would not be able to pump water from the well and we would have no drinking water. This additional well will serve as a backup.
The beginning of the year (April 2015), Peter Trujillo entered our drinking water into a Drinking Water Taste competition sponsored by New Mexico Rural Water Association. Our water won 1st place throughout New Mexico. The beginning of the year (2016) Peter will be taking our drinking water to Washington, DC for the same competition, but now this is opened to the whole Nation. Our water will be the only representative of New Mexico.
Next step is to protect our drinking water. Using GPS & GIS technology, we determine all the possible sources of contamination to our aquifer, such as: all kinds of mines, cemeteries, maintenance yard, places where people change automobile fluids, dumps, etc. We will create maps of these locations and overlay it on our drinking water aquifer. Now to come up with plans and ordinances on how to keep contaminates out of the aquifer.
Tribal Council approved a change in our Solid Waste Management Plan. This was to change the way we dispose of our trash and add in Recycling into the plan. The current yellow bins are at least 20 years old now. Most of them are rotting on the bottoms and lids are broken. We have complaints from many people of non-Cochiti members dumping (at night or early morning) trash into their bins. Some items being put into the bins, cause the compaction in the trash truck to jam-up. The operator then has to jump inside the trash and get it unstuck (very unsafe and unsanitary).
Under the new plan, each household will receive a new 95 gallon (possibly 2) which will be for household waste (the trash truck will pick these up). The rest of the waste will be considered RECYCLABLE (you will be responsible for delivering these recyclables to the new Collection Center). Additionally, each household will receive 2 new 10 gallon containers to help with the recycling separation at home.
The new Collection Center is being constructed in phases, using New Mexico Environmental Department's RAID Grant. Phase 1- clear area and add base course (finished). Phase 2- construct a chain link fence around the site and purchase security cameras (finished). Phase 3- purchase 4 towable trailers which will be used for the recyclable items (in progress). Phase 4- purchase additional 10 gallon trash containers for each household (next phase). The change over in management plans will not happen until the Collection Center is fully established. Other additions to the Collection Center are: a structure to hold containers for used oil (can be mixed with: gear oil, ) and antifreeze, a structure to hold household hazardous waste (unused paints, unused chemical cleaners, vehicle batteries, florescent light bulbs, unused liquids with a Danger or Hazardous label on the container, etc.), a structure for reusable items (couches, beds, furniture, fixtures, books, computers, TV's etc.), a Big Brother's container for usable clothing, locations for tires, location for pallets, location for wood or lumber, location for scrap metal, location for E-Waste, location for appliances [we will continue to have the service to pick-up: scrap metal, any and all appliances, and E-waste. Call (505)977-5788 to set up an appointment to schedule pick-up].
Days and times for the Collection Center are yet to be determined.
Preliminary separation of recycling items will include: Before dumping If unsure, ASK, ASK, ASK.
- One trailer will be for Aluminum cans and Aluminum foil only.
- One trailer will be for Cardboard only. (NO PIZZA BOXES because of the food and oils left by the pizza). Cardboard will have to be flattened in order to fit into the trailer.
- Two trailers will be for:
- Plastics (chairs, tables, coolers, bowls, toys, milk jugs, water bottles, detergent containers, no plastic spoons, forks, plates, clothes hangers, no water hoses, no Styrofoam plates or cups, and no plastic bags like Wal-Mart or Target).
- Paper (newspaper, phone books, paperback books, junk mail, office paper, magazines, catalogs, paperboard such as cereal boxes, tissue boxes, heavy weight folders, shredded paper, no used items like: napkins, diapers, tissue paper, paper towels, wax paper, any paper product with bodily or animal fluids).
- Tin cans, (must be rinsed out, no food left in container) not aluminum cans.
- Scrap metal (broken rakes, hoe, shovel, plumbing fixtures, pipes, bed frames, etc.)
No food, either separate or mixed in with other containers. No dead animals or parts of animals. The recycling company will turn away the load, then the tribe will have to pay to dispose of the load.
2016 priorities include: Drinking Water, Solid Waste, and Radon testing.
We will continue to create plans and ordinances to protect our drinking water. Updates will be disclosed in various ways.
We will continue to improve on the recycling program. Monies generated from recycling will be used in the maintenance of the Collection Center.
Based on EPA’s records, all lands north of Albuquerque are considered to be in the RED ZONE (Radon testing at 4.0 and above, this is hazardous to human health. Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer). Our position at this point is to test all homes and create a baseline on radon. So far I have tested 13 homes and the tests indicated levels lower than 1.0 (this is really good). I’m hoping that all our homes are like these other levels. In that case, we probably won’t have to test for another 4 or 5 years.
2016 Utility Taskforce priorities include: tribal Utility Bills.
Due to the amount of households that are delinquent in paying their utility bills, the Tribal Council has approved for the Utility Taskforce to create methods (method will be approved by Council) to bring all households current with the Utility Bill.
The money from the utility bills is supposed to be used to maintain the equipment (trash truck, tires, gas, fluid changes, etc.) needed for managing the utilities within the village. In the past, the Maintenance Department used to help out the people for free with some utility problems. Now with the delinquent amount being so great, the Maintenance Department is unable to provide this free service.
Example of service; Drinking Water. Water is free (while it is in the aquifer or from the river), but we have to pump the water out of the aquifer then purify it (electric to run the pump and purchasing purifying agents) in order to drink it. Next is the underground piping system to deliver the water to each house (maintaining the system is very costly, testing and testing). This is one example of how the money from the Utility Bills are used. Please, pay your bill so this maintenance of utilities can continue.
For people needing help with payments, see the Social Service Department, there is help for paying your bill.