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State Program Authorization Project

El Rito Creek at the Santa Rosa Municipal Discharge Pipe


The State of New Mexico has entered into the process for taking control of the permitting responsibilities of the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System, or NPDES, program from the United States Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA.

Team Leader

(505) 827-2803

(505) 827-0194


"It is the policy of the Congress that ...States manage ...and implement the [NPDES] permit program ...under section 402 ...of this Act"

--fed. Clean Water Act of 1972

[Section 101(b)]


What's New: Last 30 Days

NMED has decided not to pursue legislative authorization for a state NPDES program during the 2007 session.  We are continuing to work on proposals and will post drafts on this website upon completion.


The NPDES permit program, as established in Section 402 of the Clean Water Act, is responsible for the protection of surface water quality throughout the State by regulating point source discharges of pollutants to surface watercourses.  Congress initiated the NPDES permit program in the 1972 amendments to the federal Water Pollution Control Act in legislation commonly known as the federal Clean Water Act (CWA).  Congress stated, “[t]he objective of this Act is to restore and maintain the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of the Nation’s waters.” [CWA §101(a)]  Since the program’s inception, the EPA has administered the program in New Mexico with assistance and oversight by the State.  Congress provided a process and encouraged the states to develop and implement the program [CWA §101(b)].  This process is often referred to as “state authorization” or “program primacy.”  Nationwide, most states have primacy for the NPDES permit program.  New Mexico is now pursuing state authorization for the program.

Federal requirements for authorization of a state program can be found in law at §402 of the Clean Water Act [33 USC 1342] and in the Code of Federal Regulations at Title 40, Part 123 State Program Requirements [40 CFR 123].

To learn more about the background for this project please read our “briefing paper.”

This page last updated December 29, 2008

All rights reserved 2004-2005, State of New Mexico