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(505) 827-2855 MAIN // 1-800-219-6157 (toll free)
Environmental Emergencies:
505-827-9329 (24 hrs)
New Mexico
Environment Department
Drinking Water Bureau

Private Wells

Guidance for Owners of Private Wells

The information offered here is intended to guide private well owners to the appropriate resource.

NMED-DWB is only authorized by law to work with public drinking water systems.


Where can I find out about my drinking water?

If you get your water from a private system (e.g., managed by a local water association) or private well, then you/co-owners would be responsible for water sampling and analysis.  You can contact a local water laboratory or a water testing company for more information (search the Internet/phone book for water testing)

What should I tell the water laboratory to check?

When you submit your water sample to the lab, your initial water tests can be for the following:

  • Microbiological Sample (this includes analysis for Total coliform & E.coli)
  • Nitrates (because it’s a potential acute health issue)
  • Arsenic (because its naturally occurring and prevalent throughout the state)

If you’ve learned that there are other contaminants in your area, you can add them to your water test request.

What do I need to do if I find out that my drinking water has bacterial contamination?

  • If you get your water from a private water system (e.g., managed by a local water association), contact your drinking water system administrator.
  • If you had your private well tested, with water analysis results indicating bacterial contamination, you can obtain general information about what to do from the NMED/DWB website fact sheet, Boil Water Advisories.
  • If you need help with treating your private well to resolve bacterial contamination, you can consult with a water testing company.

What do I need to do if I find out that my drinking water has other contaminants?

  • If you get your water from a private water system (e.g., managed by a local water association), contact your drinking water system administrator.
  • If you had your private well tested, with water analysis results indicating microbiological or chemical contamination, you can obtain general information about what to do from the NMED/DWB website Contaminants page: https://www.env.nm.gov/dwb/contaminants/

What do I need to do if flooding occurs?

Bottled Water – Who is responsible for water quality in bottled water?

The NMED Food Program exists to protect New Mexicans from foodborne illness.  Included in its oversight responsibilities is bottled water from New Mexico bottlers.  Multi-state bottlers are regulated by the FDA.  Contact the NMED Food Program at (505) 222-9514 or online at:  https://www.env.nm.gov/fod/Food_Program

What if my well goes dry?

  • You can contact the NMED/DWB to get the names of water haulers that have been inspected and certified by the State to haul drinking water: (877) 654-8720
  • If your well does not replenish and you need a new well, you can get information about well drillers from the New Mexico Office of the State Engineer: http://www.ose.state.nm.us/STST/index.php

Home Inspection Finding – The home inspection report for property that I  want to purchase had a finding of “well & septic are located too close”.  What needs to be done?

Contact the NMED Liquid Waste Program at (800) 219-6157 and ask to be connected with a Liquid Waste Specialist for your area.  https://www.env.nm.gov/fod/LiquidWaste

Cistern Systems – My lender wants to have written certification for the cistern system on the property that I want to purchase.

There are no NMED/DWB regulations for private cistern systems.  Try contacting a local building code office to see if there are local regulations and/or inspectors who can certify cistern systems.

Private Well Records – Where can I find historical records for my well?

  • Ask the New Mexico Office of the State Engineer whether your well was previously registered: (505) 827-6091
  • Look up the Water Right Summary for your well online, at the New Mexico Office of the State Engineer website: http://nmwrrs.ose.state.nm.us/nmwrrs/waterRightSummary.html
  • Ask for all water testing history from Seller/Realtor

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Quick Contact:

Runnels Building
1190 St Francis Drive
Suite S-2050
Santa Fe, New Mexico 87505

Phone: (505) 476-8620
Or -----(877) 654-8720

P O Box 5469
Santa Fe, NM 87502

Harold L. Runnels Building // 1190 St. Francis Drive, Suite N4050 // Santa Fe, New Mexico 87505 // tel (800) 219-6157, (505) 827-2855

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