Sharon Gutierrez, who lives on Columbine Street, described the destruction caused by the flooding, which most often occurs when Aztec receives a downpour.
"The water rushes back behind our homes, taking everything from our yards and washing it down the street," she told the Council.
"We lose fences, railroad ties and gravel. Trees fall, and we've had gas tanks and vehicles washing through our yards," added Cindy Archer. "One of these days we could lose a life if this isn't addressed."
Other residents living on Cypress and Pixley streets, which also back up to the wash, described how, without warning, the water roars down the wash and through their yards, carrying large boulders with it and clearing their yards of everything in them.
The group expressed frustration that, despite years of seeking help and offering to use their own equipment to reduce the problem, no one has been able to offer a solution or assistance.
"We're so tiny and minute, no one wants to help and we're not getting anywhere. No one will do anything until some little kid gets caught in the water and gets killed," she said.
Gutierrez presented the Council with a petition of 51 signatures from residents seeking help.
City Manager David Fuqua initially
"I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but although this is a complicated issue, it is a really simple one," he said. "This is private property, and the city can't spend everyone's money for a few people, and we can't do work on private property."
Mayor Scott Eckstein echoed Fuqua's assessment.
"Because we can't go on private property, it really ties our hands. With government, there's so much red tape involved," Eckstein said.
Fuqua then presented some options the residents could consider, including the city designating the streets as a flood area, but pointed out the negative effects this would have for future building on the land. The second option was for the group to come together to obtain a private contractor to work with the Army Corps of Engineers to build a pond or lake to contain the overflow.
Because the water is coming into the area off of BLM land, Fuqua suggested that the city could speak to BLM and see if they would help come up with a solution such as a flood control pond.
He asked the group to collect damage reports and document the issue, and in return the city would contact the BLM on Tuesday.
More encouraging words came from Michele Truby-Tillen, who works for San Juan County Emergency Management.
"One of the biggest problems is that people think the Army Corps of Engineers can come in and just build levees like they did with (Hurricane) Katrina," she said.
Instead, Truby-Tillen explained, the Army Corps of Engineers can provide guidance and expertise to the group, and can issue a 404 permit to complete a construction project, such as trenching and reinforcing the wash's bank.
"What you have to do now is to go ahead and get flood insurance, then be open to new solutions and be patient, because the process could take as long as a year," she said.
She also advised the group to approach BLM with an attitude of building a partnership to fix the problem as opposed to pointing fingers.
"You need to say you're willing to partner with BLM to find a solution that helps everyone," she said.
The group was encouraged and agreed to follow these recommendations.
"At least we're getting a little farther than we ever have before," said Archer.
Councilor Matt Pennington asked that children be warned not to play in ditches and arroyos.
"If kids see clouds in Aztec, they should be told to get out of the arroyos," he said.