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

COVID-19: Public Water Systems

 

What You Need to Know

 

 

 

Operation Resources     /    Emergency Preparedness    /     Assistance    /    FAQs

 

The Drinking Water Bureau is monitoring information on the connection between the coronavirus (COVID-19) and water systems.
* INFORMATION SUBJECT TO CHANGE AND WILL BE UPDATED AS NECESSARY

We have staff available to discuss compliance issues, provide technical assistance, or lend support with other resources that you or your water system may need.

drinking.water@state.nm.us    or call (505) 476-8620   /  (877) 654-8720

NEW: 

April 15, 2020 – Compliance Sample Collection and COVID-19 for NM Public Water Systems flyer   (English)    (Spanish)

FREE Webinar: AWWA COVID-19 Implications to Operations, Compliance, & Training on Friday April 24 11-12:30 MST

March 27, 2020 – Water and Wastewater Workers Considered Essential Workers and Businesses: EPA Letter to U.S. Governors


Water System Impacts:

Not all water systems have source water pathways vulnerable to contamination by coronavirus.

Current state and federal regulations for drinking water require treatment for many systems (particularly surface water systems) to prevent waterborne pathogens such as the coronavirus from contaminating drinking water.  The CDC expects standard treatment and disinfection processes to be effective.  (ASDWA COVID-19 fact sheet)

Maintaining proper disinfection treatment at public water systems is critical to ensuring the continued protection of public health. DWB recommends a minimum 0.2 mg/L free chlorine residual for systems that disinfect to ensure continued health protection of drinking water.

One primary impact to water systems is expected to come from staff absenteeism due to illness or other related extenuating circumstances. A second impact may be a disruption to the supply chain.

Operation Resources:

Public Water Systems should continue all routine operations and compliance monitoring based on state and federal regulations. 
If you are unable to maintain any aspect of necessary operations, please contact the DWB at:

drinking.water@state.nm.us    or call (505)476-8620   /  (877) 654-8720.

See the DWB Staff Directory for additional contact information.  Assistance includes:

  • Chemical Sampling
  • Bacteriological Sampling
  • Lead & Copper Sampling
  • Disinfection Residual Monitoring
  • Operator Certification
  • Technical, Managerial, Financial Assistance
COVID-19 Fact Sheets from DWB

  • Drinking Water Laboratories and COVID-19: What you need to know (March 23, 2020)  (English)   (Spanish)
  • Drinking Water Utilities and COVID-19: What you need to know (March 19, 2020)   (English)   (Spanish)
  • Compliance Sample Collection and COVID-19: What Public Water Systems Need to Know  (April 15, 2020)    (English)    (Spanish)

> Visit the Additional Resources page for COVID-19 related tools and links. 

Emergency Preparedness:

Public Water Systems should review their Emergency Response Plans and develop processes for operations and compliance requirements during this time of response to the coronavirus.

  • COMPLIANCE MONITORING: Continue to monitor water quality, collect your routine compliance samples, and provide sample results to the Drinking Water Bureau as normal. In an effort to continue protecting public health, the DWB will also continue to collect our regular drinking water chemical compliance samples as normal. A safe supply of drinking water is critical for ensuring public health and continuing to monitor your water supply to ensure the quality of your water continues to be significantly important.
  • LABORATORY ANALYSIS:   Communicate with your labs to esure routine samples can be analyzed and locate a second accredited laboratory as a back-up.
  • EMERGENCY RESPONSE PLANS: Review and make any necessary updates to your water system emergency response plans.
    • Ensure that any necessary emergency contact phone numbers for your water systems are updated and accurate.
    • Update contact information for chemical suppliers, equipment suppliers, or contracted services is up to date.
    • Identify key customers such as hospitals or other critical care facilities that may have special needs.
    • Identify essential staff such as certified operators, emergency coordinators, or other staff that are required to maintain continuous operation of your water system.
    • Designate emergency backups for essential employees in the case they become sick and cannot perform their job functions.
    • Coordinate with neighboring water systems to share resources or essential personnel in the event of an emergency.
  • TREATMENT SUPPLIES: Conduct an inventory of essential chemicals for your water system’s treatment process or other essential equipment. Ensure that you have a sufficient supply of these chemicals or equipment. Place additional orders for essential chemicals if needed and have backup equipment on hand that is ready for use in case shipping services (FedEx, UPS, etc.) and/or courier services are affected.
  • OPERATION & MAINTENANCE PLANS: Review and make any necessary updates to your water system’s O&M and sampling plans. Review and make any necessary updates to written instructions for critical operations or equipment. Ensure that all operations staff are familiar with these critical operations instructions.
  • WATER SYSTEM PARTNERSHIPS: Partnering and collaborating with other nearby water systems can be beneficial, especially during challenging times.  EPA provides information and guidance on these cooperative tools.  NMED- DWB can also assist with water system partnerships. 

Assistance:

  • NMED DRINKING WATER BUREAU:  Contact us if you have questions or concerns about your Drinking water system. The DWB has staff available to discuss compliance issues, or provide technical assistance, or many other resources that you or your water system may need including managerial and financial assistance.
  • NEW MEXICO RURAL WATER ASSOCIATION: You can also contact NMRWA for assistance.  nmrwa.org   (505) 884-1031  or (800) 819-9893
    • Ask about the New Mexico Water and Wastewater Agency Response Network (NMWARN). NMWARN is a voluntary agreement between systems to help each other out in emergency situations. The main concept of the NMWARN is “utilities helping utilities.” NMWARN could be a critical resource in the event of a significant emergency at your water system. NMWARN is compiling a pool of certified water and wastewater operators who might be available to provide emergency on-site assistance to other systems. You do not need to be a member of this network and we encourage you to participate with this effort.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):