New Mexico
Environment Department

Contact Information:
(505) 827-2855 MAIN // 1-800-219-6157 (toll free)
Environmental Emergencies:
505-827-9329 (24 hrs)

Drinking Water Bureau

Lead and Copper Rule

In 1991, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published the Lead and Copper Rule (LCR).  The purpose of the rule is to protect public health by minimizing lead and copper levels in drinking water.  The EPA revised the rule in 2007 to enhance water monitoring and treatment, public education and consumer awareness.

Risk Associated with Lead in Drinking Water

The EPA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) agree that there is no known safe blood-level of lead for children.  Adults with kidney problems or high blood pressure can be affected by low levels of lead more than healthy adults. Pregnant women, infants and young children are most at risk from exposure to lead.

Get Assistance  –

The Lead Assistance Project can help with testing and other aspects of lead management.

Monitoring Drinking Water for Lead and Copper

The LCR requires all community and non-transient non-community public water systems to follow the tap water monitoring protocol. The protocol is designed to identify residences and other sampling locations most likely to have high levels of lead and/or copper.

Monitoring Overview

Monitoring Schedules and Guidelines

LCR Reminder Letters

Public Notice Forms – notify customers within 30 days of receipt of sample analysis

Response to Lead and Copper Action Level Exceedances

The action level for lead is 0.015 milligrams per liter (mg/L) and the action level for copper is 1.3 mg/L.  If a public water system’s lead and/or copper 90th percentile monitoring results exceed the LCR action levels, the public water system is required to do the following:

  • perform water quality parameter (WQP) monitoring
  • determine the corrosivity of the water flowing through the water system’s distribution system
  • distribute Public Education (PE) material (lead action level exceedances only)

Current Lead and Copper Action Level Exceedances in New Mexico

Public Education Materials

Corrosion Control Treatment (CCT)


Information for Schools and Day Care Facilities

Children age six and under as well as pregnant women are most vulnerable to the health impacts of lead in drinking water. NMDOH and NMED DWB collaborated to develop a guidance document for schools and facilities that serve water to children under six years of age to be able to test for lead levels and reduce the concentration once identified.

New Mexico Guide to Reducing Lead in Drinking Water: Schools and Day care Facilities

New Mexico Data for Lead in Drinking Water

Public water systems are required to compile and distribute a drinking water quality report each year, the Consumer Confidence Report (CCR).  If lead and/or copper are detected at a public water system, its CCR must include information about the range of detections during the most recent monitoring period. Contact your public water system administrator if you have not received your report.

Information for Private Well Owners

The NMED Drinking Water Bureau does not have statutory authority to monitor private well water.  Please consult the resources on the Private Well Owners page on this website.