State accuses Ruidoso officials of tampering with water

Posted at: 07/12/2013 7:01 PM
By: Lauren Hansard, KOB Eyewitness News 4

The village of Ruidoso is going on day seven of their boil water alert.  We’re learning the state has been investigating the village’s water system for nine months.  They say water officials have been tampering with the water filter.

Some residents in the village of Ruidoso are not happy. "I think it's terrible, I think they should have told us a lot more, a lot sooner," said Ruidoso resident Sean Seymour.  Seymour hasn’t been able to drink out of his faucet for seven days.  "It's a big deal having to boil everything.  Then you worry when you’re taking a shower in the water that you can't boil," said Seymour.

We asked Village Manager, Debi Lee when the water will be safe to drink again.

“The ban is going to be lifted when the tanks are half full,” said Lee. 

No definite answer, but Lee says hopefully by the start of next week. 

But that’s not all residents are worried about.  The state has just wrapped up a nine month investigation into the village’s water treatment plant.

The village has been slapped with a $48,000 fine for providing false reports from the Grindstone Water Treatment Plant.

According to the New Mexico Environment Department, water officials with the village have been providing false information about the water purity levels and reporting the water was more purified than it really was.

The state has already revoked the certification for two of the plant’s operators.  We asked the Village Manager about the investigation, but she had no comment.

"We already have a water shortage, we're already in a drought and to find out the only water that we had that we thought was safe is not safe and that they've been lying about it is pretty terrible I believe," said Seymour.

We’re working to find out exactly how this alleged tampering affected the drinking water.  We’re also pushing the village for answers.