The Water Quality Control Commission (WQCC) established under NMSA 1978, Section 74-6-3 is the state’s water pollution control agency for all purposes of the New Mexico Water Quality Act, the Federal Clean Water Act and Federal Safe Drinking Water Act. The WQCC adopts all regulations and standards administered by the Department relating to groundwater or surface water and hears appeals on the Department’s water-related permitting and enforcement actions.
Pursuant to NMSA 1978, Section 74-6-4, the WQCC:
- shall adopt a comprehensive water quality management program and develop a continuing planning process;
- shall adopt water quality standards for surface and ground waters of the state;
- shall adopt regulations to prevent or abate water pollution in the state, and to govern the disposal of septage and sludge and the use of sludge for various beneficial purposes;
- may grant an individual variance from any regulation of the commission;
- may adopt regulations to require the filing of proposed plans and specifications for the construction and operation of sewer systems, or treatment works;
- may adopt regulations requiring notice of intent to allow the introduction of water contaminants into waters of the state; and
- may adopt regulations establishing pretreatment standards that prohibit or control the introduction into publicly owned sewerage systems of water contaminants that are not susceptible to treatment.
Pursuant to NMSA 1978, Section 74-6-5, the WQCC:
- may require persons to obtain a permit for the discharge of any water contaminant or for the disposal or reuse of septage or sludge;
- shall adopt regulations establishing procedures for certifying federal water quality permits;
- may adopt regulations for the operation and maintenance of permitted facilities; shall provide by regulation a schedule of fees for permits.
Of the 14 seats, 10 are designees of governmental agencies and four are appointed by the governor. Pursuant to NMSA 1978, Section 74-6-3, the Commission consists of:
- the secretary of environment or staff designee;
- the secretary of health or staff designee;
- the director of the department of game and fish or staff designee;
- the state engineer or staff designee;
- the chair of the oil conservation commission or staff designee;
- the director of the state parks division of the energy, minerals and natural resources department or staff designee;
- the director of the department of agriculture or staff designee;
- the chair of the soil and water conservation commission or a soil and water conservation district supervisor designated by the chair;
- the director of the bureau of geology and mineral resources at the New Mexico institute of mining and technology or staff designee;
- a municipal or county government representative; and
- four representatives of the public to be appointed by the governor for terms of four years and who shall be compensated from the budgeted funds of the department of environment in accordance with the provisions of the Per Diem and Mileage Act [10-8-1 NMSA 1978]. At least one member appointed by the governor shall be a member of a New Mexico Indian tribe or pueblo.
The WQCC meets on the second Tuesday of each month, unless there is no pending business. The current WQCC members are:
- Chair - TBD
- William Brancard - NM Energy Minerals and Natural Resources Department
- Keith Candelaria - Member-at-Large – expires 12/31/2022
- Larry Dominguez - Department of Agriculture
- Krista McWilliams – Member-at-Large – expires 12/31/2022
- Purvi Mody - DOH – appointed 5/2021
- Katie Zemlick - NM State Engineer and Instrastate Stream Commission
- Kirk Patten - NM Game and Fish
- Kelsey Rader – Member-at-Large – expires 12/31/2022
- David Sypher, Vice Chair - Municipal and County Representative
- Bonnie Frey – NM Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources
- Bruce Thomson - Member-at-Large – expires 12/31/2022
- Toby Velasquez - State Parks Division, Energy Minerals and Natural Resources Department
- Edward Vigil – Soil and Water Conservation Commission – appointed 6/2021
Upcoming WQCC meetings and associated materials are found on the NMED Events Calendar. Past WQCC meeting materials are available on the archived version of our previous website. Meeting recordings are available on the NMED YouTube channel.