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Notification of Spills and Unauthorized Discharges

Even with good management practices in place, spills and unauthorized discharges can and do occur.  When a spill or unauthorized discharge happens, it is important that you take appropriate actions and notify NMED quickly so that technical experts can become involved to prevent a bad situation from getting worse.  If you are responsible for a spill, you have an obligation under a number of New Mexico laws to report it to NMED and take appropriate corrective actions to mitigate the effects upon health and the environment.

Spill caused by failing leachfield

Who Must Provide Notification?

The owner, operator, or person in charge where a discharge has occurred must provide notification of the release to the New Mexico Environment Department.

What Kinds of Discharges Must be Reported?

A discharge of any material in a quantity that may, with reasonable probability, injure or be detrimental to human health, animal/plant life, or property; or may unreasonably interfere with the public welfare or the use of the property must be reported. This includes chemicals, biohazard materials, petroleum products, and sewage. In addition to recent spills, the discovery of evidence of previous unauthorized discharges, such as contaminated soil or ground water, also must be reported.

If you are unsure whether or not you should report a particular release, it is better to err on the side of caution and report it.

When Must Notification Be Provided?

Oral notification must be provided to NMED as soon as possible after learning of a discharge, but in no event more than twenty-four (24) hours thereafter.

What Information Must Be Provided?

When you contact NMED, be prepared to provide the following information (to the best of your knowledge):

  1. the name, address, and telephone number of the person or persons in charge of the facility, as well as of the owner and/or operator of the facility;
  2. the name and address of the facility;
  3. the date, time, location, and duration of the discharge;
  4. the source and cause of discharge;
  5. a description of the discharge, including its chemical composition;
  6. the estimated volume of the discharge; and
  7. any actions taken to mitigate immediate damage from the discharge.


Who Must You Notify?  For spills involving facilities operating under ground water Discharge Permits, contact the permit reviewer directly or contact the Ground Water Quality Bureau at 505-827-2900 (during normal business hours only).  For all other situations, use the 24-hour emergency and non-emergency numbers below.

For emergencies, call 505-827-9329 (24 hours a day)

For non-emergencies:

866-428-6535 (voice mail, 24 hrs/day)

505-476-6000 (to reach NMED staff during during business hours; M-F, 8-5pm)

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