Officials initially estimated release to be about 1,000 gallons


FARMINGTON — A blockage caused by flushable wet wipes caused one pump to release less than 100 gallons of raw sewage into the Farmers Mutual Ditch earlier this morning.

A pump for the city of Farmington let out a "trickle" of raw sewage between 2 and 2:25 a.m. into the ditch, according to the city's Public Works director, David Sypher.

The Farmers Mutual Ditch is the main source of drinking water for most of the year for surrounding areas that are served by the Lower Valley Water Users and the town of Kirtland.

A post on the Farmers Mutual Ditch Facebook page stated about 1,000 gallons of raw sewage was released when the city of Farmington "lost a pump."

Sypher said the initial estimated figure of 1,000 gallons was issued in an abundance of caution and before the calculations were made.

There was no active flow when employees went to the pump, and there is no evidence of any environmental impact, according to Sypher. It has been reported to the New Mexico Environmental Department, and the water has been disinfected.

Keith Lee, Lower Valley Water Users manager, said he was notified shortly after the leak and turned off the organization's pumps.

The ditch notified the Lower Valley Water Users earlier today that the organization could turn the pumps back on, Lee said.

Kirtland Mayor Mark Duncan, said he had no concerns about the leak and had complete confidence in the ditch operators.

Joshua Kellogg covers crime, courts and social issues for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627 or via email at

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