State of New Mexico > Environment Department > Surface Water Quality Bureau

Surface Water Quality Bureau
Monitoring & Assessment

UPDATED US EPA-Approved TMDL for the Mora River
(Highway 434 to Luna Creek)

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An upstream view of the Mora River near Chacon, New Mexico...  Download the 169 kb PDF today!

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) received a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit application (NM0031097) from Mora High School in Mora, New Mexico on October 18, 2010. According to the application,

Mora High School is located on the floor of a mountain valley containing a shallow alluvial aquifer, which is capped in most places by a thin layer of low-permeability clay… At the site of the Mora High School athletic facility, which is now in the process of construction, part of the overlaying clay layer was removed during construction activities. In the absence of part of the low-permeability clay layer, rising ground water now reaches the land surface… causing flooding that would render the athletic facility unusable, and would threaten proposed structures.

TMDL Development

(505) 827-2901

Updated TMDL 157 kb Download the 157 kb PDF file today...
Bulleted item Approval Letter 218 kb Download the 218 kb PDF file today...
Bulleted item Public Comment DRAFT TMDL for Raton Creek Watershed
Bulleted item Canadian River TMDL Pt. 2
- 2011
Bulleted item Canadian River TMDL Pt. 1
- 2007
Bulleted item Cimarron River TMDLs - 2010
Bulleted item Canadian River Tributaries Water Quality Survey - 2006
Bulleted item Fecal Coliform TMDL - 2004
Bulleted item Turbidity, Stream Bottom Deposits (SBDs) & Phosphorus TMDLs - 2004
Bulleted item Canadian River Tributaries Water Quality Survey - 2002
Bulleted item Aluminum TMDL - 2001
Bulleted item SBDs TMDL- 2001
Bulleted item Temperature TMDL - 2001
Bulleted item Turbidity TMDL - 2001
Bulleted item Temperature TMDL - 1999

Mora High School has requested an NPDES permit to use a dewatering system that will lower groundwater levels to a safe depth below the surface of the athletic facility and surrounding structures. The dewatering system consists of three wells that will pump shallow ground water to a pipeline and carry the water directly to an outfall at the Mora River (Highway 434 to Luna Creek). It was specifically noted in the permit application that the dewatering system would exclude stormwater and any stormwater generated by precipitation on the athletic facility itself is drained to a separate system with connecting detention ponds.

TMDLs for these impairments were approved by EPA in September 2007. This document is an update to the Canadian River Watershed – Part 1 TMDL document, in particular it is an update to the specific conductance and sedimentation/siltation TMDLs for the Mora River (Highway 434 to Luna Creek) in response to Mora High School’s NPDES permit application.

A TMDL is a planning document that establishes specific goals to meet water quality standards in waterbodies where pollutant limits are exceeded. It includes current pollution loadings, reduction estimates for pollutants, information on probable sources of pollution, and suggestions to restore or protect the health of the waterbody.

The Mora River watershed is located in northeastern New Mexico. The Surface Water Quality Bureau (SWQB) conducted a water quality survey of the Mora River basin in 2002. Water quality monitoring stations were located within the watershed to evaluate the impact of tributary streams and ambient water quality conditions. As a result of assessing data generated during this monitoring effort impairment determinations of New Mexico water quality standards for:

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SPECIFIC CONDUCTANCE in the Mora River (Hwy 434 to Luna Creek); and

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SEDIMENTATION/SILTATION in the Mora River (Hwy 434 to Luna Creek).

The TMDL document addresses the above-noted impairments as summarized in the Executive Summary tables starting on page 3. The SWQB has prepared separate TMDL bundles for other surface waters in the Canadian headwaters, selected tributaries and Cimarron River subwatersheds.

Public meetings were held in Tucumcari, and Mora to summarize the information and to provide a forum for interested parties to ask questions and provide comments. The meeting dates allowed the public time to review the document and generate questions or comments. The public meeting in Tucumcari was held on Wednesday, June 15th from 6-8pm in the Liberty Room of the Tucumcari Territorial Building, 1500 W. Historic Route 66. The meeting in Mora was held on Tuesday, June 21 from 11am to 1pm in the Mora Independent School District Board Room, Highway 518, Mile Marker 29.5. The meeting in Raton was scheduled to be held on Tuesday, June 21, from 5:00 to 7:00pm in the City of Raton Commission Room, 224 Savage Avenue.  However, due to a large wildfire on the New Mexico-Colorado border very near Raton, the meeting was subsequently cancelled. 

The Public Comment DRAFT TMDL was made available for a 30-day comment period beginning on June 6, 2011 and ended July 8, 2011.  A public meeting was held at the Mora Independent School District Board Room on June 21, 2011.  No written public comments were received.  The Final DRAFT version was presented to the Water Quality Control Commission (WQCC) for approval at their regular meeting on Tuesday, September 13th, 2011.  Subsequent approval was granted on Friday, September 30, 2011.  The United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) reviewed the WQCC-Approved version and forwarded their approval letter on November 28, 2011.

The Monitoring and Assessment Section will collect water quality data during the next rotational cycle.  The next scheduled monitoring date for the Canadian River Watershed is 2015-2016 at which time TMDL targets will be re-examined and potentially revised as this document is considered to be an evolving management plan.  In the event that new data indicate that the targets used in this analysis are not appropriate and/or if new standards are adopted, the load capacity will be adjusted accordingly. When water quality standards have been achieved, the reach will be moved to the appropriate category in the State's CWA §303(d)/§305(b) Integrated Report.

The Watershed Protection Section will continue to work with watershed groups to develop Watershed-Based Plans to implement strategies that attempt to correct the water quality impairments detailed in this document.  Implementation of items detailed in the Watershed-Based Plans will be done with participation of all interested and affected parties.

For more information, please contact Heidi Henderson at the address or phone number provided above.


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