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SANTA FE – Officials of the city and county of Santa Fe and the private Las Campanas development partnership took one side of an environmental dispute Monday night; critics of Los Alamos National Laboratory took another.The two groups presented divergent views at an Environmental Protection Agency hearing in Santa Fe about a new water discharge permit for the Buckman Direct Diversion Project.Rick Carpenter, senior water resources coordinator for the city, said the project, which has been in the works for 15 years, was “absolutely critical” for the city’s diversified water portfolio.The $171 million Buckman Direct Diversion Project takes water from the Rio Grande on the east side of the river three miles below the Otowi Bridge. According to the plan, a sediment removal facility will remove sand and other sediment from the water, before it is pumped to two water treatment facilities. After treatment the water would be distributed to customers in the city and county of Santa Fe and residents of Las Campanas.Under the plan, Carpenter said, the sediments that are removed would have to be trucked or returned to the river.
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