The Puerco River basin has, within its confines, one small city, Gallup, New Mexico. Gallup is located within close proximity to the Navajo Nation, and many Navajo Nation members live and work in Gallup and need affordable housing. A local Gallup non-profit proposed a multi-family housing development on a long-vacant, and blighted property in the middle of downtown Gallup. After several environmental assessment investigations, the developer discovered significant groundwater contamination, from an adjacent dry cleaner, that had the potential to migrate into the indoor air at the future housing facility. A series of brownfield assessment, planning, and cleanup efforts resulted in a New Mexico Environment Department (NMED) brownfields program funded vapor intrusion barrier coupled with passive venting to protect the health of future occupants of the building. The NMED Ground Water Quality Bureau’s use of California vapor intrusion screening levels resulted in a subsequent fouryear effort to change the Ground and Surface Water Protection Regulations (20.6.2. NMAC) to explicitly include regulatory oversight of indoor air that is impacted with contaminants that migrated from subsurface environmental pollution. This soon-to-be promulgated regulation makes New Mexico only the second US state to have explicit regulatory authority over vapor intrusion.
Puerco River basin, Gallup, New Mexico, Navajo Nation, environmental assessment investigations, groundwater contamination, New Mexico Environment Department, NMED, brownfields
Hunter, Michelle G.. "How a Brownfield Redevelopment Planning Effort in Gallup Resulted in A New Regulation for Vapor Intrusion in New Mexico." (2018). https://digitalrepository.unm.edu/wr_sp/157