Boil water advisory lifted in Ruidoso amidst concerns

Posted at: 07/15/2013 6:52 PM
By: Lauren Hansard, KOB Eyewitness News 4

After ten days, the Boil Water Advisory in Ruidoso has been lifted.  But many people are still concerned after the village was accused about lying about the purity of the water.       

It all started last year on June 8, when New Mexico Environment Department officials made a visit to the Grindstone Water Treatment Plant and discovered something wasn't right.

State officials said someone put a filter in the system.  Investigators said that filter gave inaccurate readings about how pure the water really was.  The state said that filter was used for two weeks.

"It is very lucky that we found this condition as quickly as we did," said Tom Blaine, the Director of the New Mexico Environment Department.

KOB Eyewitness News 4 wanted to know just how dangerous the water was during that time.  Blaine said this kind of falsified information is serious and in some cases can be deadly.

“There are other cases in the United States where turbidity was falsely reported and it ended up making several thousand people sick and in some fatalities in that state,” said Blaine.

The village was hit with a $48,000 fine.  A fine KOB found out will most likely be paid for by taxpayers.

"They are a publicly funded operation, and I assume that will be coming out of the taxpayer dollar one way or the other," said Blaine.

Which is unsettling for people like Larry Wimbrow, owner of a gun and pawn shop and resident for more than 20 years.

"You would think people that are in charge of making sure our water is fit to drink, do it correctly," said Wimbrow.

"I just want to make sure that everybody realizes and that they’re assured that we had our technical staff monitoring this the whole time," said Blaine.

The village of Ruidoso can file an appeal.  KOB will continue to follow the investigation and bring you the very latest as it comes to us.

We went back to the village today.  Once again, no one would talk to us about the water filter.  According to investigation documents, the village told the state that the filter was used as an experiment.  They were hoping the filter might help them meet their water purification requirements.