Your daughter-in-law found this one on your local TV news station:
TULAROSA, N. M. (KRQE-KBIM) – Fluid leaking onto city streets from a contract garbage truck has tested positive for the E. coli bacteria, according to the town’s mayor.
Alamo Disposal has been picking up the trash for many in Tularosa for the last three years. Recently resident and city officials noticed something leaking from a truck into the middle of the street.
Tularosa Mayor Ray Córdova then inspected the vehicle and smelled something extremely foul coming from it. That’s when he told residents to take samples of the fluid so he could send it off to a lab for testing.
Those tests came back positive for the E. coli bacteria. . .
. . .On Thursday Alamo Disposal owner Art Cardiel said the leak came from a crack in the truck. However he also said believes the E. coli is coming from the bacteria in people’s trash and not the truck itself.
“In this area, a lot of people grow their own fruit because there’s a lot of water,” Cardiel said. “Now how am I supposed to have any control over what I put in my truck that comes out of their trash cans?”
“I’m abhorred about it,” Córdova said. “I don’t like it, and I don’t want it. . .
. . .”I spoke to him on the phone and said this has got to stop,” Córdova added. “I said can’t even allow your trucks into the city limits if that’s what they’re doing.”
The New Mexico Environmental Department has given the owner 10 days to fix the crack in his truck.
But the mayor and trustees will meet on Sept. 23 to decide if they want to terminate the contract.
There have been no reports of any residents coming down with E. coli from the fluid.
Two sentences: 1) The E. coli is coming from the dog and cat poo that is dumped into household trash. 2) The fluid is harmless unless you drink it or put it on a piece of fruit.
The article is currently followed by 15 comments of various degrees of comedic creativity. For example, when has anyone not smelled a foul odor coming from a garbage truck?
I won’t even get into the issue of the strain of E. coli that might be coming from the garbage truck.
Of course, the hysteria resulting from this story reflects our failure to teach science to the public, either in schools or thereafter, and help people understand what is dangerous and what is not. It also doesn’t help that KRQE-TV anchor Kim Vallez sensationalized this case by leading into the report with, “Tularosa residents have been exposed to E. coli and it has nothing to do with anything they ate.”
I’m sorry to be so crude, but they are also exposed to E. coli every time they wipe their butts.
I’m also disappointed in the reporter, Heather Burke, who did not contact an expert from the Department of Molecular Genetics & Microbiology or Division of Infectious Diseases at University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center and College of Medicine to put the risks in perspective. It took me about 30 seconds to find a couple of scientists and docs, and their phone numbers, who could’ve certainly gotten an opinion in before the story deadline.
Alamo Disposal owner Mr Art Cardiel might care to consult with one of these experts before the city cancels his company’s contract.
Or maybe someone out there should just call my Mom – she’ll set those people straight.
Then again, I warn you that you don’t want her showing up at the 23 Sept meeting of the mayor and trustees.
Photo credit: Village of Shorewood Hills, Wisconsin, Village Heritage Gallery Photo #29; photographer not identified. Shorewood Hills was the childhood home of Olympic speed skaters, Eric and Beth Heiden.