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New Mexico
Environment Department
Liquid Waste Program

Graywater

Graywater means untreated household wastewater that has not come in contact with toilet waste and includes wastewater from bathtubs, showers, washbasins, clothes washing machines and laundry tubs, but does not include wastewater from kitchen sinks or dishwashers or laundry water from the washing of material soiled with human excreta, such as diapers.

New Mexico Graywater Guide (Printable Brochure)

Graywater Regulations for New Mexico – See Sections 809 and 810 of 20.7.3 NMAC


History of Graywater in New Mexico

The 2003 Legislature passed House Bill 114, codified as 74-6-2 and 74-6-4 NMSA 1978, that set conditions whereby up to 250 gallons per day of residential gray water may be used for household gardening, composting or landscaping irrigation without a permit. 

Consequently, NMED issued Gray Water Irrigation Guidelines, and proposed amendments to the Liquid Waste Disposal Regulations (20.7.3 NMAC) that are consistent with the Legislative intent of House Bill 114. 

The proposed amendments were discussed at a Public_Meeting on November 19, 2003. 

The public meeting resulted in a Stipulation to Support the proposed amendments that were signed by NMED, the N.M. Department of Health, the Sierra Club’s Northern New Mexico Group, the Santa Fe Water Conservation Committee, and by the New Mexico Rural Water Association.  Additionally, the Dairy Producers of New Mexico submitted a letter in support of the amendments. 

A Public Hearing before the N.M. Environmental Improvement Board (EIB) was held on December 16, 2003 to consider these amendments.  The EIB adopted all amendments recommended by the stipulating parties, and added a prohibition on discharging hazardous materials in graywater that was in Arizona’s graywater regulations. 

Click here to download a copy of the amendments that were adopted by the EIB.  Links to graywater laws, regulations, and guidelines of other southwestern states are provided in Table 1 (below).  The provisions of graywater regulations adopted by EIB with those of other southwestern states are compared in Table 2 (below).  The regulations adopted by EIB contain more protective requirements regarding graywater use than do regulations of any other states in the southwest.  The Office of the State Engineer and NMED have developed a brochure about gray water, New Mexico Graywater Guide


Table 1.  Graywater Laws, Regulations and Guidelines of Other Southwestern State Agencies.  See Table 2 (below) for a comparision of the provisions of each state. 

State  Graywater Provision
Arizona Reclaimed Water General Permit for Gray Water, 18-9-711
California Graywater Standards
Colorado Gray Water Systems, VIII.D.1
(graywater systems must meet all design and construction standards for septic tank systems)
Nevada System Utilizing Graywater for Underground Irrigation, 444.837
New Mexico State University Safe Use of Household Greywater
Oklahoma Individual and Small Public On-Site Sewage Disposal Systems
(definition of “sewage” includes graywater waste but no specific rules)
Texas Treatment and Disposal of Greywater, 285.80
House Bill 2661, Standards for Control of Graywater
Utah Proposed Graywater Systems Rule, R317-401

 

Table 2. Comparison of Graywater Provisions of Other Southwestern State Agencies (Click to see table)

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