Common Ground Community Trust

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The petition is directed to the Environmental Improvement Board (EIB), that they should hold a public hearing resulting in a full investigation of radioactive dumping in Rio Rancho. 

Sign the Petition to TAKE ACTION that the Environmental Improvement Board should hold a public hearing which would result in a full investigation into the March 2018 radioactive waste disposal in the Rio Rancho Waste Management landfill and the August 2019 radioactive brine water disposal into the Rio Rancho sewer treatment facility. 

Concerned citizens think the TENORM waste is radioactive and harmful to humans.
WE need the New Mexico Environment Department ( NMED) to act to protect our homes, schools, businesses. We need the NMED to protect our water, air and soils.

For more specifics on the the background and time line and issues that we intend to bring to the Environmental Improvement Board. Please read the petition and then support the citizens groups request to hold a public hearing by signing it.

COPY of Petition  

To: Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham, Environmental Improvement Board (EIB) New Mexico Environmental Department (NMED) Pamela Jones Public facilitator, James Kenney Secretary of NMED, Rebecca Roose Under Secretary of NMED 
From: Pause On Fracking NM

We, the undersigned, join this petition to request a public hearing before the Environmental Improvement Board (EIB).

Hazardous TENORM has been dumped into a Municipal Landfill and radioactive brine has been discharged into public wastewater infrastructure

Sept. – Nov. 2009 – A pilot water desalination project at the briny water well site was reportedly successful, creating a concentrated radionuclide and arsenic waste stream, the basis of the TENORM.

Apr. 2011 – A final Preliminary Engineering Report (PER) for future water treatment projects described the same arsenic and radionuclide waste streams as hazardous and stated for future treatments, “The precipitate will be dewatered to the minimum practicable volume, placed directly in shipping containers, and disposed of in a licensed hazardous waste landfill. The concentrated stream will not be exposed to air or soil, and the handling facilities will have appropriate secondary containment and segregation from other parts of the treatment plant.” It is clear just how dangerous the TENORM was considered. However, as stated by water treatment proponents, all waste streams for the 2009 pilot project were conveyed to a single impoundment, thereby “blending” the TENORM with the existing contaminated evaporite salt.

Oct. 2011 – NMED stated in their review of the Apr 2011 PER that an issue for any proposed water treatment facility was the need to establish an agreement with a licensed landfill facility in Andrews, TX to accept hazardous material generated at the water treatment plant. Thus, NMED has demonstrated prior knowledge of this dangerous TENORM. NMED also recognized that there wasn’t a New Mexico facility at that time licensed to accept such dangerous TENORM.

Mar. 2018 - The corporation directed the transport and disposal of 48 truckloads, equaling 288 tons, of the TENORM into the Rio Rancho landfill.This is a direct violation of the landfill permit. 


June 2019 – NMED denied the corporation's request to discharge the briny groundwater (the same ground water that formed the contaminated, radioactive “salt”) at the remote Rio West ground water well location, citing the fact that the Primary Discharge Permit (DP-1682) evaluation generated “significant public interest” (SPI). NMED did state that the corporation could discharge the highly contaminated ground water off site if they submitted a Notice of Intent (NOI).

July 2019 – The corporation responded that they would not file a NOI because there would be no offsite discharge. Instead, the wastewater would be reinjected into the extraction well.

August 22, 2019 – The corporation directed the transport and disposal of at least 5,000 gallons of the radioactive wastewater into the Rio Rancho Sewer system. A water quality report was attached to the August 22, 2019 email from the corporation to the Rio Rancho POC, but the email was sent to an incorrect email address. The report listed Total Radium at 85 pCi/L and Arsenic at 64 mg/L.

Sept. 3, 2019 – In an internal email communication, NMED stated that the corporation never disclosed the wastewater contaminants, but rather only told the City and their contract POTW operators that the wastewater was “brine”

Sept. 10, 2019 – In an email to the USEPA, NMED characterized the August 22nd disposal action as “illicit” and stated that the groundwater had “historic high levels” of radium 226 & 228, arsenic, and other contaminants. NMED also stated that, once again, it was clear authorities were not made aware of the material’s contaminated nature. NMED included an Excel spreadsheet listing the wastewater was historically described with Total Radium concentrations of, again, 85 pCi/L

Serious Concerns: 
There is a serious concern that NMED has refused to identify who specifically directed the landfill and sewer treatment facility disposals. The concern is that there may well be a pattern and practice of knowing and willful intent to replace ensuring public safety with an effort to save money at all costs.

There is a serious concern that NMED has arbitrarily and capriciously attempted to reduce the briny water's historic total radium concentration (85 pCi/L) by appx. 75% apparently to protect the corporation at the expense of public safety. Using data in use at the time, the total radium soil concentration was appx. 7.05 pCi/G, well above the EPA maximum level of 5 pCi/G.

An issue with the sewer treatment facility is that NMED never addressed public hazards – were facility workers exposed to carcinogens during the course of their duties? Also, what was the final disposition of the radium & arsenic? Where did it end up; in the outfall into the Rio Grande? In the “cake” & to the landfill? Either would be a serious violation.

Landfill disposal: Was it exposed to a wind dispersal vector and also eventually buried where it would leach to the landfill liner, extracted in the leachate and redistributed onto the ground surface (the landfill sprays the leachate on the ground for “dust control”).

Impacted citizens do not feel the New Mexico Environment Department (NMED) has demonstrated the will to protect the health, safety and welfare of the public. Therefore, as outlined above, we are requesting the New Mexico Environmental Improvement Board (EIB) to convene an investigative public hearing, as expeditiously as possible, to resolve ongoing serious and immediate environmental, health and safety, and regulatory issues. 


Please sign the Petition Donate and help spread the word. 
Keep our Community Healthy and Safe. 

Community Meeting September 30th, 2019 at Loma Colorado Library at 6 pm in the Auditorium

We are updating the community on what is transpiring with lands and its impacts on the residents and businesses in Rio Rancho North west Albuquerque and Bernalillo and Sandoval Counties.

Eddie Paulsgrove, stakeholder resident of Rio Rancho will give a presentation on radium issues on the wells. Elaine Cimino. will give overview and what frontline stockholders being affected by the infrackstructure can do.

Toxic Waste Stream without regards for the Environment or residents and businesses health and safety
Infrastructure Development Continues for Unsustainable Growth including Fracking Operations in
Rio Rancho Estates, West Mesa, and impacting the
Albuquerque Middle Rio Grande Basin
Brine Well Water in Rio West spreading NORM and other contaminants

BRINE WELLS have Radium 226 and 228 with high alpha and gamma. Brine water was used on roads for dust control with permission from NMED and who GWB chief has conflicts of interest and use to work for contractors on brine. Brine, if approved by permit by the office of the state engineer, would allow this brine to be used on public lands decimating the watersheds on the the Rio Puerco and Middle Rio Grande. NMED Approves permits for Water discharge and would responsible to regulate brine and produced water in the State.

This slide shows the Paseo de Vulcan North west Loop Alice B King. Highway designed to run through desalination and injection well field to inject Brine waste and possibly fracking in a highly thermal area on the a heavily faulted zone on the Nacimento Rift aka Rio Grande Rift.

Fracking needing 30 to 40 times more water upfront is not just a difference volume, it is a fundamental difference in kind. Until recently, operators could usually get all their water from a single surface-use agreement. But most surface owners just can’t supply that much water in that much time, so operators now have to search the whole area for supplies.

We are only talking about ⅓ of produced water recovery prior to separating contaminants that are mostly regulated by RCRA but Preempted including natural and man-made radionuclides and a very expensive water recovery process. 

nearly 1800 peer-reviewed studies on health exposures to fracking and infrastructure exposes including radium can be found here:

Peered Review studies can be found in the Compendium 6

Underlying the draft white paper is the expectation of continued oil and gas drilling and fracking to maximize New Mexico oil and gas production and throughput, including for export. This expectation sets current policy and is baked into the white paper promoting commodifying oil and gas wastewater for dispensation through farms (in lieu of dispensing of the liquid wastes by underground injections, known for causing earthquakes). Will you allow NM chile to be forever branded as toxic because this is where we are headed without a moratorium on produced water. 

The expectation stems from billions of dollars in debt created on projects to increase the rates of Permian oil (and gas) extraction, paid back over the course of maximal production. Thus the federal and state draft white paper on the market potential of oil and gas wastewater runs from a deep denial of climate constraints on public policy. 

It doesn’t consider the emissions of the supply chain and any projects moving forward must include emissions of the entire supply chain. 

Drill Cuttings being dumped at the local landfill in PA the same would happen here unless we start to focus on making comments to NMED on Produced water and it’s intended use outside the industry. oil na gas wants to use it for dust control and on agriculture crop and cattle. These contaminants of secret. Has not NM and the people contaminants by the airbase in Clovis enough for this state?
And currently MRCOG is considering accelerating the use of produced water for Return Flow Credit Dumping into the Rio Grande and Direct injection into the Aquifer. This is being done without Public awareness and study of all the factors, Yet Water brokers in ABQ and AZ are chomping at the bit to push for accelerated use to mask what fracking is destroying in this state and that is the disappearance of water from the Hydrological cycle.   

Current state and federal energy policy are to maximize throughput and combustion of fossil fuels, lest it is wasted, and the draft white paper facilitates that shortsightedness. This runs contrary to established scientific consensus and agreement that economies need to decarbonize within the next two decades from now, with Green New Deal urgency, to keep warming from increasing much beyond 1.5 degrees. 

New Mexico faces severe climate change impacts, the scientific consensus on which is most recently expressed in the U.S. National Climate Assessment (NCA). The NCA states:

Post-wildfire erosion damages ecosystems by denuding hillsides, such as occurred in Valles Caldera National Preserve in New Mexico when the 2011 Las Conchas Fire generated the biggest local erosion event in 1,000 years. In New Mexico, consecutive large wildfires degraded habitat and reduced abundance of six out of seven native coldwater fishes and some native insects, although nonnative fishes were less affected. With continued greenhouse gas emissions, models project more wildfire across the Southwest region. Under higher emissions, fire frequency could increase by 25%, and the frequency of very large fires (greater than 5,000 hectares) could triple.

NMED will host the meetings along with representatives from the Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department (EMNRD) and the Office of the State Engineer (OSE) to provide stakeholders with information on produced water and the upcoming rulemaking process. The public engagement process will provide opportunities for stakeholders to share input with state officials on the range of critical environmental, natural resource and human health considerations involved in the implementation of the Produced Water Act.

NMED PRODUCED WATER Public stakeholder meetings will be held at the following times and locations:
Oct. 15, 20196-8:30 p.m. 
National Hispanic Cultural Center Grand Hall 1701 4th St. SWAlbuquerque, NM 87102
Oct. 30, 20196-8:30 p.m.
St. Francis Auditorium 107 West Palace Ave.Santa Fe, NM 87501
On the water insecurity the Southwest faces, stemming from climate change, the NCA continues:

Any increase in water requirements for energy generation from fossil fuels would coincide with reduced water supply reliability from projected decreases in snowpack and earlier snowmelt. Increased agricultural water demands under higher temperatures could affect the seasonal demand for hydropower electricity. The water consumption, pollution, and greenhouse gas emissions of hydraulic fracturing (fracking) make that source of fuel even less adaptive under climate change. Substantial energy and carbon emissions are embedded in the pumping, treatment, and transport of water, so renewable-powered water systems are less energy and carbon intense than ones powered by fossil fuels.

On food insecurity, also driven by climate change in the Southwest, the NCA summarizes:

Food production in the Southwest is vulnerable to water shortages. Increased drought, heat waves, and reduction of winter chill hours can harm crops and livestock; exacerbate competition for water among agriculture, energy generation, and municipal uses; and increase future food insecurity.

The white paper can only be seen as the trace of dark energy and climate policy crisis at the federal and state level, unable to cope with the reality of climate change.

To shine a light on this crisis at the local level, people are organizing in communities for transitions to 100% renewable power in the next two decades. This is consistent with the net-zero emissions timeframe for holding global warming to 1.5°C. New Mexico possesses vast amounts of latent wind and solar power, yet to be built, and, like elsewhere around the country, the state has huge opportunities to slash fossil energy demand further through efficiency and storage technologies, coupled with those clean, distributed energy sources.

Despite the policy-level denial of the climate constraint in practice, the authors of the white paper have the audacity to suggest that treating ancient oily brines mixed with fracking chemicals for water for food crop irrigation and animal troughs amount to a tool in the climate adaptation toolbox. 

This adds insult to injury from decades of inaction. For over a half-century, the issue of climate change has forced questions about the short-sightedness of equating maximal oil and gas production, throughput and combustion with energy and economic security.  For more information

About Us
The Common Ground Community Trust is a grassroots community group in Albuquerque/Rio Rancho NM. We are fiscally sponsored by the Albuquerque Center for Peace and Justice. We started this grassroots group while working on the threats of oil and gas fracturing to the Rio Grande Valley. We are asking for support to protect our water and air from the oil and gas industry by donating to our cause.  We formed this trust to help protect our water and air,  public health and safety so that any funds received will benefit our community. 

Common Ground Community Trust is created to help protect water, air, health and safety of the community residents which supports community groups to rise up to meet the challenges posed by the onslaught of the oil and gas industry. We are facing the creation of the next Permian basin for drilling oil and fracking for gas for Mancos Shale. It is about the County Commission protecting corporate profits and power by overruling democratically made local policies and regulations. The Ordinance process has been going on for 3 years and we are back where we started. the Current one like the other 6 drafts offers NO PROTECTIONS. 

The money will be used toward fiscal expenses that include, gas and travel to State meetings,
office expenses, legal fees, documentation, research, community forums and to help our group get to meetings and give presentations via video and in- person and on a live stream. We are looking to hire a mediator to Stop this travesty and if this fails we will go in with various groups to file an injunction against the County. We can use your help.

We need funds as the threat of fracking and drilling of 15,000 leases on private lands in the State of NM are ready to drill in the Albuquerque Basin.  After 18 months of working on a draft ordinance, the County is now considering streamlining a 10-day permit process between the state and county for an Oil and Gas permit application. We got the Bad ordinance voted down so we are asking the State legislature for relief.  

New Mexico's 4 Corners area is the #1 emitter of GHG emissions in the lower 48 States is one of our priorities in order to protect the futures of our children.

All donations made on this site are not tax-exempt or deductible. 
For Tax exempt donations checks must be made our to our fiscal sponsor:
Albuquerque Center Peace and Justice
C/O Common Ground Community Trust
907 Nyasa RD SE
Rio Rancho, NM 87124 

Our children will thank you!
  • Patricia Reda 
    • $100 
    • 2 mos
  • Diane Bloom 
    • $50 
    • 5 mos
  • Patricia Reda 
    • $45 
    • 5 mos
  • David Bacon 
    • $15 
    • 5 mos
  • Patricia Reda 
    • $45 
    • 6 mos
See all


Elaine Cimino 
Rio Rancho, NM
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