New Mexico
Environment Department

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

Ground Water Quality Bureau

General FAQs

Q. I am discharging liquid and it may get into groundwater. Do I need a groundwater Discharge Permit?

A. It depends. The typical situations where the PPS would issue a permit include:

Domestic wastewater discharges of > 5000 gallons per day, from large capacity septic tanks, wastewater treatment plants, sludge and septage disposal, and reclaimed domestic wastewater use. Domestic wastewater discharges of < 5000 gpd are permitted through the NMED Liquid Waste Program.

Industrial discharges from power plants, asphalt processing, car washes, chlorinated solvent remediation…basically any wastewater from industry.

The Agriculture Compliance Section issues permits for agricultural wastewater discharges from dairies, chile processing, cheese manufacturing, slaughterhouses and food processing.

Q. What is an NOI?

A. The notice of intent, or NOI, is a form that is submitted to NMED that allows NMED to determine whether a groundwater Discharge Permit is needed for a specific activity.

Q. Do I need to submit an NOI?

A. If you are unsure, contact NMED.

Q. What is domestic wastewater?

A. Water from toilets, sinks, dishwashers and laundries. Generally, domestic wastewater originates from homes and businesses.

Q. If I am discharging to a lined lagoon or holding tank, do I still need a Discharge Permit?

A. Yes, you do, under most circumstances.

Q. Do I need a Professional Engineer (PE) to design my wastewater treatment system?

A. Yes, you need to hire a PE to design a new system or modification to an existing system. NMED maintains a list of consultants. This list is not all inclusive and does not constitute endorsement of these firms by NMED. If you are interested in having your firm listed on this page, please contact Lochlin Farrell.

Q. How do I determine the depth to groundwater at my discharge site?

A. The Office of the State Engineer iWaters database is a good starting point. You may also find hydrogeologic studies for the area where you are discharging.

Q. How do I determine the Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) value of the groundwater most likely to be affected by my discharge?

A. Sample a nearby well and have it analyzed at a laboratory or look for a hydrogeologic study for the area near your discharge.

Q. Where can I find a laboratory to test my water?

A. NMED maintains a list of laboratories. This list is not all inclusive and does not constitute endorsement of these firms by NMED. If you are interested in having your lab listed on this page, please contact Lochlin Farrell.

Q. How do I get a permit?

A. Fill out an application and follow the process……however, NMED recommends that you contact one of our Team Leaders to discuss your permitting situation first.