NM dairy agrees to pollution-cleanup plan

By Dan Lorimier, Citizens Dairy Coalition

After two years of negotiations, Del Oro Dairy in Anthony, NM, has agreed to several modifications to its original plan to capture polluted shallow groundwater from beneath its facility.  This revised plan is the culmination of efforts between  the New Mexico Environment Department’s Groundwater Quality Bureau, the New Mexico Citizens Dairy Coalition and Del Oro. It represents the hope that this plan spells the end for the shallow-water pollution plume that is already under residential neighborhoods and has been contributing to the larger pollution plume produced by the dozen or so dairies along Dairy Row on I-10 around Anthony.

The polluted water will be pumped into a storage tank from 10 wells that will pump continuously.  That water will be used exclusively to wash down the floors of the milking parlor — not equipment.

It will then be captured in a sump and pumped into an evaporative lagoon.

As part of the agreement between the parties, the dairy and the Environment Department will hold a virtual Town Hall in mid-December to explain the process and take questions from online participants.  The town hall will be bilingual to encourage fuller participation.

Despite New Mexico’s dairy industry being a strong economic generator, its Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO) production and business model exacts a very high price from our land, air and, especially, water.

The New Mexico Citizens Dairy Coalition has served as the voice of the public regarding dairy issues since 2009, when it helped the Environment Department and the industry develop and implement the industry-specific New Mexico Dairy Rule. It has spoken for New Mexicans in numerous situations, like this one, since the adoption of the revised Dairy Rule in 2015.

Along with the Sierra Club Rio Grande Chapter, the Citizens Dairy Coalition combines the energy and resources of the Socially Responsible Agriculture Project, Food and Water Watch, Animal Protection New Mexico, Amigos Bravos, Del Valle Concerned Citizens, and Mesquite Community Action Committee.

Dan Lorimier is the former conservation organizer for the Rio Grande Chapter.

Featured image: Google Earth view of Del Oro Dairy in Anthony, NM. Del Oro Dairy has been in negotiations with the New Mexico Citizens Dairy Coalition and Environment Department to properly clean up a pollution plume that is already under residential neighborhoods.

NM dairy agrees to pollution-cleanup plan