HSC Studying Ground Water in North Valley

The UNM Health Sciences Center and Lovelace Clinic Foundation are studying groundwater in the NorthValley.

Researchers are looking at the efficiency of septic tank systems as lot-sizes in the north valley shrink and more people move in, said Kristine Tollestrup, Ph.D., Family and Community Medicine.  Septic systems work in part by a filtering process whereby bacteria in the septic tank and surrounding soil attack sewage, killing off bacteria and viruses as the water percolates through the soil, she said. 

While the systems work well in rural areas, there are concerns that as developments fill in vacant land in the north valley, the combination of population increase and lot size decrease may be resulting in groundwater contamination.  The three-year study is funded by the Association of Teachers of Prevented Medicine.

The study will analyze blood for antibodies to common waterborne pathogens.    Participants will be asked to complete a questionnaire and give a blood sample, and possibly, a water sample.  Researchers will collect data from North Valley residents who have septic tanks and water wells as well as those on city water and sewer systems. 

Eligible participants will receive a $25 gift certificate.

To volunteer for the study, contact Twila Kunde at the Lovelace Clinic Foundation (505) 262-3472 or Dr. Kristine Tollestrup at UNM, (505) 272-9555.


Contact: Cindy Foster, 272-3322

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