February 25, 2015--Final results of river pollutant study to be presented (Four Corners News)

The final results from a study of contaminants in the San Juan and Animas rivers will be presented at San Juan College on Thursday. A preliminary analysis of study samples found high levels of bacteria associated with human waste in both rivers. "We're definitely going to have some more sure conclusions than before," said Melissa May, a San Juan Soil and Water Conservation District natural resource specialist. The conservation district and the San Juan Watershed Group, both local agencies, are partners in the study that is seeking to identify land-use practices contributing to river contamination. May and New Mexico State University professor Geoffrey Smith will present the study's 2013 and 2014 results at 6 p.m. in room 9008 in the Henderson Fine Arts building. Only the 2013 results have been reported. As part of the two-year study, scientists analyzed samples collected from five sites along the San Juan and Animas rivers to test for bacteria — E. coli and Bacteroides — that indicate the presence of human and animal waste. They determined both bacteria are being introduced in San Juan County, and most samples tested positive for human bacteria. Officials involved in the study have said leaking septic tanks and illegal waste dumping could be the sources of the bacteria. But New Mexico Environment Department spokesman Jim Winchester has said he knows of no evidence to support that conclusion. To view the full article, visit the Four Corners News.