I am writing today to announce the closure of the New Mexico Independent. After three and a half years of operation in New Mexico, the board of the American Independent News Network, has decided to shift publication of its news…
Posts Tagged Jerge and water
Bernalillo has been operating its troubled drinking water arsenic filtration system in violation of state law since 2008, according to Environment Department officials. But the state’s own documentation of the project is missing at least two key documents, The Independent has found. The state has no plans to take enforcement action against the Town, which has cooperated fully with the state in its efforts to fix the malfunctioning system, officials say.
Contract water system engineer Ramesh Narasimhan’s firm, NCS, was fired Tuesday and the Town will seek undisclosed damages, Mayor Patricia Chavez announced. The move followed news that the state Environment Department would issue a second drinking water violation for high arsenic levels.
Two years after Bernalillo spent at least $4.9 million building new arsenic filtration systems for the Town’s drinking water, lab tests suggest they are not working. The state Environment Department issued a violation letter Tuesday, stating that water from one of the Town’s two active wells exceeds federal and state water standards for arsenic. The violation notice came just a week after the Town council voted to spend another $9.2 million to install the system on its remaining two wells — lest it lose $4 million in federal stimulus funding for the water system improvements.
When Bernalillo’s contract engineers wrote a report describing the Town water system’s arsenic filtration options in 2006, they refused to assess, let alone recommend, equipment produced by the Bernalillo-based firm ARS-USA. So former Town manager Stephen Jerge hired Narasimhan Consulting Services (NCS) to write a new report that recommended the ARS system and neglected even to mention alternative technologies, prompting a rebuke by the state Environment Department.
A Town of Bernalillo contract engineer provided Arizona Cardinals playoff tickets to then-Town manager Stephen Jerge and a water department official last January, he has admitted—and the contractor’s wife hired Jerge to work at her firm after he resigned as Town manager in the midst of a financial scandal last April.