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

Water System Projects

Modification, Design, & Construction

All public water systems (PWS) are required under the NEW MEXICO DRINKING WATER REGULATIONS (which incorporate the National Primary Drinking Water Regulations by reference) to obtain written approval from the New Mexico Environment Department Drinking Water Bureau (DWB) before they undertake a public water system project (20.7.10.200.A, 20.7.10.201.A NMAC).  A public water system project is defined as “the construction of a new public water system, modification to an existing public water system, or conversion of a non-public water system to a public water system”. The term “public” refers to those served by the water system, rather than the entity that owns the water system.

The New Mexico Environment Department (NMED) Drinking Water Bureau (DWB) has updated its website and application submittal procedure.  Public water systems that are planning to undertake a project must submit an Application For Construction or Modification of Public Water Supply System to the engineering staff of the DWB:

NMENV-DWBPlanReview@state.nm.us

The subject line of your email submittal should include the name of the water system, the water system number and a short description of the project.  An example of the subject line could be:

The Red Balloon Restaurant, NM3590132, 10K GAL Welded Steel Tank

A username, password and link to an FTP site is the preferred method to submit projects.  An email message with attachments of a total size < 50 MB is also acceptable.  The project may not be put into operation until approval has been given by the DWB.  Please use this Application Checklist to ensure that the application that is submitted is complete.  Incomplete applications will not be reviewed.

Capacity Demonstration

Water systems that have never been part of the Safe Drinking Water Information System (SDWIS) inventory must demonstrate sufficient technical, managerial and financial capacity to produce and deliver safe drinking water, in addition to their Applications. Inactive water systems in the SDWIS inventory may also be required to make this demonstration.

The DWB Community Service Coordinator in your area will review your managerial and financial capacity demonstration.  Please refer to the DWB Service Area Map to identify your Community Service Coordinator. Please submit the required documentation to the Community Services coordinator 2 to 4 weeks before submitting the application for construction in order to allow time for the capacity assessment. Applications for construction that do not include the results of a completed capacity assessment are incomplete and will not be reviewed.

Please contact the DWB Technical Services Manager (505.222.9509) for information about the technical capacity demonstration.  Templates for required documents for the technical capacity demonstration are available below:

  • O&M – Operations and Maintenance Plan Guidance and Template
  • SWA – Source Water and Wellhead Protection Toolkit
  • Emergency – Emergency Response Plan Template
  • Sampling – New Mexico Distribution System Sample Plan (DSSP)

Projects That Involve a Source

Before the connection with other water system facilities, water from the source that will be constructed or converted as part of the project covered by the construction application shall be sampled for organic and inorganic & radiological contaminants. The results of this sampling will indicate whether treatment is required to meet regulatory maximum contaminant levels.  Microbiological sampling of affected facilities shall be completed to validate adequate disinfection.

In addition to the sampling requirements shown above, a project involving a new ground water source that is not under the direct influence of surface water must include an inventory of existing and planned facilities and land uses that are actual or potential sources of contaminants of concern located within 1,000 feet of a water source. At a minimum, potential sources of contamination and land uses in Appendix K of the NMED source water assessment and protection program report of a New Mexico water utility, July 2004 (template for ground water) must be considered.

Applications that involve a source must include the appropriate Office of the State Engineer permit.  NOTE: although the Office of the State Engineer allows for a twenty (20) foot grout seal their regulations also specify that “community (public) water supply wells shall also be completed with annular seals in accordance with New Mexico Environment Department regulations and other applicable ordinances or regulations.”  [19.27.4.30.A(5) NMAC, http://www.srca.nm.gov/parts/title19/19.027.0004.html].  Those NMED regulations and standards currently require a fifty (50) foot grout seal for wells supplying public water systems.

As a reminder: all public water systems (PWS) are required under the NEW MEXICO DRINKING WATER REGULATIONS (which incorporate the National Primary Drinking Water Regulations by reference) to obtain written approval from the New Mexico Environment Department Drinking Water Bureau (DWB) before they undertake a public water system project (20.7.10.200.A, 20.7.10.201.A NMAC). A public water system project is defined as “the construction of a new public water system, modification to an existing public water system, or conversion of a non-public water system to a public water system”. The term “public” refers to those served by the water system, rather than the entity that owns the water system. For a new well that process diagram would be described as follows, where site = site work, per = permitting, cap = demonstration of technical, managerial and financial capacity, app= application process and drill = well drilling and construction:

Projects That Involve Storage

An application for a project that includes storage must include a description of an adequate foundation for each storage tank.

Projects That Involve Treatment

Best available technologies (BAT) for treatment are identified in Subpart G of the National Primary Drinking Water Regulations. Projects that incorporate BATs will be reviewed within 45 days.  Projects that use treatment other than a BAT will be reviewed within 120 days.  Also, applications for these types of projects must include a performance demonstration that was completed by a field testing organization with the credentials stated in the regulations.

Change Orders

Before implementing a change, notify the Drinking Water Bureau in writing of any change from approved plans or specifications that affects the design capacity, operating units, the functioning of water treatment processes, or the quality of water to be delivered. Use the this form to make the notification.

Notice of Significant Change in Disinfection

Surface water treatment and other Subpart H systems must notify the Drinking Water Bureau when a significant change is made to its disinfection practice.  The notice must include the elements shown below:

  • Disinfection profile (graph of inactivation ratios calculated weekly during the previous year)
  • Disinfection benchmark (lowest monthly average inactivation ratio from the profile)
  • Description of the proposed change in disinfection practice
  • An analysis of how the proposed change will affect the current level of disinfection

The submittal should include the filtered water temperature and the pH.  Historic pH measurements may be available at https://dww.water.net.env.nm.gov/NMDWW/.  In the absence of supporting documentation, New Mexico Environment Department (NMED) Drinking Water Bureau (DWB) staff will require the lowest filtered water temperature and highest filtered water pH for the inactivation calculations.  A table showing the CT values required for 99.9% (3-log) inactivation of Giardia lamblia at 0.5°C is given below.  For temperatures other than 0.5°C refer to 20.7.10.100 NMAC incorporating 40 CFR 141.74 Tables 1.2 through 1.6.

For groundwater systems, the 4-log virus inactivation table is included in the chlorine inactivation form: Documentation of Chlorine Inactivation Level

Please use this Hypochlorination Checklist to ensure that the application that is submitted is complete.

Standards

The 2006 revisions to the Recommended Standards for Water Facilities are available for your use.  This document incorporates nationally recognized guidelines for engineering practices in furtherance of public health and environmental protection and were modified by NMED to address New Mexico practices and particulars.

All materials and chemicals that may come into contact with the drinking water must be certified for use in a public water system. Certification is primarily accomplished thriough the NSF International.

Disinfection and bacteriological testing must be completed as part of any drinking water construction project.  The American Water Works Association (AWWA) maintains disinfection standards.  Proposed disinfection must, at a minimum, be equivalent to the most current versions of the following AWWA standards:

  • C651 – AWWA Standard for Disinfecting Water Mains
  • C652 – AWWA Standard for disinfection of Water-Storage Facilities
  • C653 – AWWA Standard for Disinfection of Water Treatment Plants
  • C654 – AWWA Standard for Disinfection of Wells

Projects That Require Notification Only

Any person proposing to undertake one or more of the following types of public water system projects must give the DWB written notice by submitting an application.  DWB approval is not required for:

  1. a modification that involves only the replacement or construction of more than 1,000 feet of distribution lines, or of appurtenances, pump stations, or pressure regulating facilities for which the public water system employs, either by contract or direct employment, a registered professional engineer who is responsible for the project; or
  2. installation of a hypochlorination system, including an on-site hypochlorination generation system, in a public water system under the following conditions:
    • water is supplied by ground water that is not under the direct influence of surface water;
    • the owner or operator of the system employs, by contract or direct employment, a water operator certified in New Mexico at the level required in the Utility Operator Certification Regulations, 20.7.4 NMAC;
      and
      the certified operator is responsible for the project and certifies the inactivation ratio achieved by the hypochlorination system; the water system operator shall calculate the inactivation ratio and document the calculation on Documentation of Chlorine Inactivation Level.

Activities That Require Neither Approval Nor Notification

The following activities are considered on-going operation and routine maintenance procedures. These activities are not considered public water system projects. There is no requirement to notify or seek approval of the Department for these activities:

  • pipeline leak repair
  • replacement of existing deteriorated pipeline, or addition of distribution pipeline, if such replacements or additions, or both, total less than 1,000 feet in any 60 calendar day period;
  • entry into a drinking water storage facility for the purposes of cleaning and maintenance;
  • the replacement of chemical feed pumps and associated appurtenances;
  • the replacement of electrical or mechanical equipment in an existing public water supply system; and
  • the replacement of equipment or pipeline appurtenances with the same type, size and rated capacity (fire hydrants, valves, pressure regulators, meters, service laterals, chemical feeders and booster pumps including deep well pumps).

Project Application Denial

The Department may deny an application for a public water system project, in whole or in part, if the Department determines that one or more of the following conditions exist:

  • any maximum contaminant level (MCL) or treatment technique set forth at 40 CFR Part 141 will not be met after completion of the project;
  • any other requirement of 20.7.10 NMAC will not be met after completion of the project;
  • the design of the project is inconsistent with generally acceptable standards for construction of public water systems and their components including, but not limited to, the recommended standards for water facilities, Construction Programs Bureau, New Mexico Environment Department;
  • the design of the project will not meet project goals;
  • the public water system does not demonstrate sufficient technical, managerial or financial capacity;
  • an existing or planned source of actual or potential contamination may adversely impact a water source proposed to be utilized by the system; to make this determination, the Department may require the applicant to submit to the department analyses relating to hydrogeological, soil or ground water conditions at the site, and information regarding proposed technology or installation methods that may be employed to prevent or mitigate the impact of the contaminant source on the water source; or
  • a regulated contaminant or disinfectant will be injected into the source (e.g., chlorine pellet drop system).

Project Completion

Please notify the department when a public water supply system project, or well-defined phase thereof, is at or near completion using the dedicated NMENV-DWBPlanReview@state.nm.us email.  A NOTICE OF PROJECT COMPLETION TEMPLATE is provided to ensure that your notification includes the department’s project approval letter and meets the requirements of 20.7.10.201.T and 201.U.  Please submit record drawings in PDF to the same email within 120 days after completion of the project.

The subject line of your email submittal should include the name of the water system, the water system number and a short description of the project.  An example of the subject line could be:

The Red Balloon Restaurant, NM3590132, 10K GAL Welded Steel Tank-Notice of Project Completion

A username, password and link to an FTP site is the preferred method to submit projects.  An email message with attachments of a total size < 50 MB is also acceptable.