Concern mounts as some Four Corners residents still under boil order

by Devin Neeley, originally posted on June 13, 2016


CROUCH MESA, NM — Around 6,000 people are being forced to boil their water in the Four Corners due to concerns over contamination in two area water systems.

Users of Harvest Gold and Morningstar water have been under the order since June 3. Morning Star users were asked to boil the week before—but some users say the problem goes much further back than that.

“You heard the saying, when you go to Mexico, don’t drink the water? Well when you buy up here, don’t drink the water… it is the nastiest stuff,” said Kent Wilkinson.

He has owned his property on the mesa for more than 30 years and has lived there at least 20.

“What most people do up here is buy bottled water, because the water is so nasty you cannot drink it,” he said.

Wilkinson says he has installed filters on his water system, before it comes into the house. He says the filters should last six months, but he is replacing them every week. He still won’t drink the water.

Along with the boil orders frustrating residents, another big concern is that some residents are just learning about the boil advisory.

“I had a gentleman call me today and said he just found out. That is concerning,” said Thomas Barrow, the Operations Manager of Animas Valley Water. AV Water runs both Harvest Gold and Morningstar Water systems.

Barrow says the first notification, sent around May 31, was done through the county’s 911 call back system, but the wrong people were notified.

“The people that needed it didn’t get it,” he said.

That boil order was rescinded, but was replaced on June 3 with an announcement from the NM Environment Department.

Barrow says they’re working on a new alert system that would require a positive response from a water user. He says they are working to update the database with users’ info now.

He says the water plant is just not working right now, and the problem is compounded by muddy water from the Animas River that the plant just can’t handle.

Kent Wilkinson still isn’t happy about the bad water he says he has been getting all this time.

“If I hadn’t had the property so long, I might sell out and get out of here, let somebody else deal with it,” he said. “But that’s not right either.”

Learn More