The Rio Grande runs through three states, and all along the way communities use the river’s waters for drinking, crop irrigation, and for Native American religious ceremonies. But with New Mexico’s biggest urban centers and military bases—and the substantial pollution they generate—near to the riverbanks, how safe is the Rio Grande for people and wildlife? In this series, we take an in-depth look at what’s in the water, what’s being done to fight pollution, and what contamination means for human and environmental health.

The Public Health New Mexico reporting project is funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.