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Agency picks up equivalent of a 4 story building in trash just one year


By Stephanie Muñiz

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    ALBUQUERQUE, New Mexico (KOAT) — During the past few weeks we have seen piles of trash float down the arroyos during rainstorms.

Once the rain passes the empty bottles, plastic bags and styrofoam need to be picked up.

The Executive Engineer, Jerry Lovato, at the Albuquerque Metropolitan Arroyo Flood Control Authority also known as AMAFCA said “We used to pick things up by hand then we started going to mechanical methods to pick up trash.

In order to avoid the trash flowing into the Rio Grande, AMAFCA picks up the equivalent of a four story building in just one year.

“We also get car parts, couches, refrigerators, TVs and animal carcasses,” said Lovato.

Because of this they have diversion channels that filter out the trash.

Lovato said, “One of those cases where we put a weir in. The water builds up, it passes through some of those underground conduits that reduces the flow. Then on the other side that cleans the flow to the next facility.”

He says it’s an ongoing challenge to try and keep the arroyos clean. He has a message for people who dump trash in the channels.

“I would just say please use a dumpster, there’s a lot of dumpsters in town. Please use a dumpster,” said Lovato.

Aside from separating trash, AMAFCA diverts water from current flow paths, this helps avoid properties from getting flooded. That tactic also helps utilize the storm water.

“Storm drainage over the past 50 years has changed a lot. In the past it was to grab the water as quickly as possible and get it to the Rio Grande as quickly as possible. Today it’s all about slowing the water down because storm water is a resource,” said Lovato.

According to AMAFCA they have over 70 flood control dams and ponds throughout Albuquerque.

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