New Mexico is one of the poorest states in the nation.
It is one of only two places where Green Group Holdings has an active garbage dump. The other is Guam, where one in four people live in poverty.
The North Eastern regional landfill was originally owned and operated by Herzog Industries, the corporate parent to Green Group Holdings. Since 2012 GGH has been managing the dump.
The 439 acre New Mexico Regional Landfill exposes a 20-year history of trouble, fines, violations and a bitter fight to stop the most dangerous waste from being put there.
In 2000, the Sheriff of Mora County even threatened to block highways leading to the Wagon Mound Landfill to block dangerous debris coming to the dump.
Residents went to court nearly two decades ago and won a legal battle to keep Herzog from shipping in asbestos contaminated materials, ash and other hazardous waste.
Look at the history of violations and failures to comply with state law...visible garbage, failure to control litter, improper water run off, problems with monitoring methane and potential health dangers.
Just last year, the dump was punished for not properly quarantining infectious syringes.
In 2017, state regulators found the dump failed to fully comply with operation requirements.
Herzog Industries was fined more than 20,000 dollars for failing to submit required compliance reports to state regulators.
A partial owner of the dump was busted with an illegal river of hundreds of thousands of tires. The cleanup tab was estimated to be 1 million dollars.
During September of 2019 inspectors from the state of New Mexico found a disintegrated cell phone battery smoldering in the piles of garbage, and extinguished the site with water and mud.