The New Mexico Environment Department (NMED) issued an administrative compliance order to the Vision Mobile Home Park, LLC in Kirtland for its failure to properly manage and monitor sewage to protect groundwater and the health of residents.
The administrative compliance order requires the owner to come into compliance with water protection laws and take other steps to address the situation.
The owner of Vision Mobile Home Park, Marisela Ornelas, failed to comply with multiple monitoring and reporting requirements included in permits issued by NMED in 2012 and 2020. These permits allow for the disposal of up to 8,700 gallons per day of domestic wastewater into 11 septic tank leachfield systems at the mobile home park.
The permits also include requirements that protect groundwater from contamination by pollutants found in sewage, such as nitrate, which is toxic to human health if ingested at concentrations above the New Mexico groundwater standard.
Consistent failure by the owner to properly maintain the septic tank leachfield systems resulted in violations that present potential health risks to residents of the park, as well as those who live nearby and rely on groundwater as a drinking water source.
To protect groundwater and public health, the Environment Department required the owner to provide a plan to connect to a nearby municipal sewer system by June 7, 2020. To date, the owner has not submitted a plan.
“Compliance with discharge permits is a legal obligation this Department takes seriously,” NMED Cabinet Secretary James Kenney said. “The Environment Department will hold Vision Mobile Home Park accountable for endangering public health and its complete disregard of protecting groundwater.”
These enforcement actions come after significant and ongoing NMED efforts to assist the owner and obtain voluntary compliance, which were met with a lack of cooperation. The administrative compliance order issued by NMED includes a civil penalty of $265,050.
Further, the administrative compliance order seeks compliance after years of new and ongoing violations, as well as the installation of groundwater monitoring wells to determine the extent of possible contamination. Civil penalties paid by the park owner will go to the state’s general fund, the primary state fund from which the ongoing expenses of state government are paid.
The park owner may appeal the administrative compliance order. If this occurs, NMED will vigorously defend its actions and continue to demand full compliance by the owner.