Aztec begins project to control flood waters

Work focuses on protecting Aztec Museum and Pioneer Village

Hannah Grover
Farmington Daily Times
Jiovona Sandoval, left, Zoe Selph, and Brian Umbarger, all of Aztec, move dirt and debris to a pile Aug. 27, 2015, after a flood at the Aztec Museum.
  • A flood in 2015 damaged the Aztec Museum and Pioneer Village.
  • A water main between the Aztec Museum and the San Juan County Historical Society will be replaced this week.


FARMINGTON — The Aztec Public Works Department has started work on a project to control flooding at the Aztec Museum and Pioneer Village.

The project, which involves a check dam to slow the water and a channel to direct the flood water, is expected to take all summer to complete.

This week, workers will be moving a 12-inch water main between the Aztec Museum and the building that houses the San Juan County Historical Society. The majority of the work will be done on Friday, according to the Public Works Department. Public Works Director William Watson said the existing water main is made of old materials and will be replaced with modern plastic. The water main also will be lowered to make way for a flood-control project.

Watson said flooding in 2015 caused large amounts of water to flow down Blanco Street and in between the two buildings.

Jimmy Miller, a board member of the Aztec Museum Association, said a storm in 2015 flooded the basement of the museum and scattered mud and debris throughout the Pioneer Village.

Flood debris litters the front of the Aztec Museum on Aug. 27, 2015.


"We hope that (the flood-control project) will prevent water from spilling all over the Pioneer Village," Miller said.

He said the biggest benefit of the flood control project will be protecting the fragile structures. The museum building served as the original city hall, and the historical society building once housed the fire department.

Miller said the brick wall on the historical society could be severely damaged by future flooding.

"I don't think that it could withstand another flood," he said.

Cody Smith, of Aztec, moves silt and debris from the sidewalk Aug. 27, 2015, at the Aztec Museum after a flood.


While the water main is being replaced on Friday, Aztec businesses and residents in the downtown area north of Chuska Street and south of N.M. Highway 516 are being urged to take precautionary measures, such as stocking up on drinking water and storing water in containers for flushing toilets.

For more information, contact the Public Works Department at 505-334-7660.

Hannah Grover covers government for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652.