New Mexico
Environment Department

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

Liquid Waste Program

How NOT to Install a Septic System

Improper installation may pose a threat to public health and safety or contaminate ground water.

While this septic tank was being installed, a torrential rainstorm filled the hole with water causing the tank to float.  As water infiltrated out of the hole, the tank settled into this unlevel position.  (Arroyo Seco, NM, August 2003, Mike Armijo)

These 55-gallon drums, welded together end-to-end and with holes drilled into the sides, were in the process of being “installed” in this pit in lieu of a legal septic system.  The property owner was prohibited from completing this installation.  (Carlsbad, NM, November 2003, Dennis McQuillan)

This septic tank floated on shallow ground water during installation.  The tank had to be filled with water to get it to sink into the aquifer.  The required four-foot clearance between the leachfield and seasonal high water table was not achieved.  (Valencia County, NM, circa 1980’s, Richard Perkins)