When people hear the words “recommended reading” they have an expectation of what comes next. A list of interesting or thrilling reads provided by a book critic, or perhaps the local librarian.
But any compilation of the written word — be it a book, an essay, a news article, even a brochure — can become recommended reading if the subject matter warrants. Even a document entitled “Source Water Protection Plan.”
The city of Roswell has such a document on its website, and if you live here and have an interest in the long-term quality of the local drinking water supply, it’s recommended you read it.
Representatives of the city, in 2018, worked with the New Mexico Environment Department to develop an assessment of “existing and potential threats” to the local water supply, according to the draft document. The plan summarizes the in-depth analysis that resulted, and includes action items to be undertaken by the city.
Quoting from the report’s executive summary, “The source water area was defined for each of the system’s 20 groundwater wells … Within these areas, existing and potential sources of contamination were identified and assessed for the level of risk they pose to the water supply.”
The report assigns numerical scores — based on a range of criteria — to each of the system’s wells, gauging their susceptibility to possible contamination.
Also quoting from the report, “The primary risks to the water supply come from the following types of existing contamination sources: Leaking underground petroleum storage tanks, the former Walker Air Force Base contamination plume, the Lea and W. Second Street Superfund Site, and the McGaffey and Main Superfund Site.
“Lower risks to the water supply come from these types of potential sources of contamination: Above-ground and underground petroleum storage tanks (not leaking), agricultural fields, arroyos, auto salvage yards, plugged oil and gas wells, private wells and septic systems.”
Crafted to evaluate possible threats to the water supply, the report also provides an education on the municipal water system — its structure and how it works.
Local officials focused on source-water protection have identified a number of steps to be taken, according to the report, including developing zoning ordinances to protect well fields — and hosting a public forum to present the draft plan to the public and solicit input.
That forum is scheduled for Tuesday at 6 p.m. at the Roswell Adult & Recreation Center, 807 N. Missouri Ave. To read the plan in advance of the meeting, find it online at roswell-nm.gov, under the Engineering Department’s page.
Again, it’s educational. But the key takeaway is something we all know without having to be told, or reminded.
The functioning and continued integrity of the water system are at the heart of life in Roswell. It’s a shared resource worth care and attention — and vigilance on all our parts. Being informed is step one.