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

Information for Homeowners

  • Homeowners may qualify to install a liquid waste system after passing a homeowners installation test administered at your local NMED Field Office.  The qualification exam is based on the below listed study guide. We recommend that a homeowner carefully read the guide in preparation for the exam.  Exam and study material are provided in Spanish upon request. Please contact your local field office for more information.  The
  • Homeowners may apply for a Homeowner Qualification Certificate before or after the exam.  Upon receiving the homeowner qualification certificate the homeowner may submit a permit application (see forms section on program page) to install a conventional system for their personal residence only.
  • The homeowner qualification and approved permit are valid for one year.
  • The fee for a Qualification Certificate is $170 and a permit to install any system less than 1,000 gallons per day is $225.
  • All fees must be paid when the homeowner permit application is approved.  There is no fee to take the exam or meet with staff to discuss the homeowner qualification or permitting process.

Study Guides

  1. Homeowner Installation Manual (English Version)
  2. Guía para el Dueño de Casa: Cómo Instalar un Tanque Séptico y Campo de Desagüe (Spanish Version)
  3. An Introductory Guide to Installing a Septic Tank and Drainfield (English) This video is old but useful
  4. An Introductory Guide to Installing a Septic Tank and Drainfield (Spanish) This video is old but useful



Qualified homeowner.
  1. A homeowner must become qualified to install an on-site liquid waste system by passing an exam administered by the department.
  2. Homeowner training materials and opportunities for exams, by appointment, shall be available at all department field offices.
  3. A qualified homeowner may apply for a permit to install or modify a conventional on-site liquid waste treatment and disposal system serving the qualified homeowner’s personal residence in accordance with Subsection C of NMAC.
  4. A qualified homeowner shall not install or modify an on-site liquid waste system serving a rental unit, or other property that is not the qualified homeowner’s personal residence.
  5. A homeowner qualification shall be valid for one year from the date of issuance of qualification; the department may extend the qualification beyond one year for good cause shown.
  6. A qualified homeowner may install no more than one liquid waste system during a twelve month period.
  7. A qualified homeowner who self-installs a system shall not compensate any person to perform any phase of the system construction, unless that person holds a valid and appropriate classification of contractor’s license issued by the New Mexico construction industries division.

Financial Assistance Programs

Various programs may provide grants or loans to help those who qualify for assistance.  These agencies are independent from the New Mexico Environment Department.  You must meet each agencies requirements and follow through with that agency.  NMED is not affiliated with any independent financial assistance programs and is not responsible for communicating with these agencies.