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

Surface Water Quality Bureau
Point Source Regulation Section
Watershed Protection Section

Procedures for Certification
of Federal Permits
Pursuant to Clean Water Act Section 401

On April 5, 2011 the New Mexico Water Quality Control Commission (WQCC) adopted new regulations addressing the certification of federal permits pursuant to Section 401 of the federal Clean Water Act [33 U.S.C. 1341].  The regulations were considered and adopted by the WQCC through their formal public participation process and codified in 20.6.2 NMAC – Ground and Surface Water Protection Regulations.  The new regulations were filed with the NM Records Center on April 18, 2010, published in the New Mexico Register on April 29, 2010 with an effective date of May 18, 2011.

Sarah Holcomb
Program Manager
(505) 827-2798

-2003 NMAC

The New Mexico Water Quality Act in Section 74-6-5.B NMSA 1978 states that the WQCC “… shall adopt regulations establishing procedures for certifying federal water quality permits.” Section 74-6-4.F of the Water Quality Act further states “… [t]he department of environment shall provide technical services, including certification of permits pursuant to the federal act ….” Below is a chronology of the regulation’s development.

Log of Events:


June 25, 2010 – Release of Public Discussion DRAFT – 31-day Public Comment period – responses were due back to SWQB by close-of-business, Monday, July 26, 2010.  NMED issued a news release regarding the Public Discussion DRAFT on June 29, 2010.  Six comments were received:

a. Amigos Bravos - July 2, 2010 37 kb Download the 37 kb PDF today...
b. International Boundary and Water Commission - July 14, 2010 81 kb Download the 81 kb PDF today...
c. San Juan Water Commission - July 25, 2010 303 kb Download the 303 kb PDF today...
d. Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority - July 26, 2010 58 kb Download the 58 kb PDF today...
e. Montgomery & Andrews, PA - July 27, 2010 2.9 MB Download the 2.9 MB PDF today...
f. Los Alamos National Laboratory 16 kb Download the 16 kb PDF today...

September 28, 2010 – NMED Petition for Rulemaking for Procedures Governing State Certification of Federal Permits Under the CWA filed with the WQCC.


October 12, 2010 – WQCC review of Petition for Rulemaking at their regularly scheduled meeting. The WQCC authorized a Public Hearing on this Matter to be held at their regularly scheduled meeting on January 11, 2011.


October 26, 2010 – NMED letter to NM Economic Development Department regarding “Submission to the Small Business Regulatory Advisory Commission” pursuant to the Small Business Regulatory Relief Act, NMSA 1978 §§ 14-4A-1 to 14-4A-6.

5. January 11, 2011 – WQCC Hearing (initiated but not completed).
6. March 21, 2011 Revised proposed federal permit certification procedures were submitted to the Water Quality Control Commission for consideration and adoption at the April 5, 2011 meeting.
7. April 5, 2011 – Continuation of Hearing, deliberations and adoption of rule changes.
8. April 18, 2011 – Filed with the State Records Center.
9. April 29, 2011 – Publication in the New Mexico Register.
10. May 11, 2011 - WQCC Adopts their formal 'Order and Statement of Reasons' regarding their April 5, 2011 decision on the new rule.
11. May 18, 2011 – New Regulation effective.

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For more information about the Procedures for Certification of Federal Permits Pursuant to CWA § 401 in New Mexico, please contact SWQB's Point Source Regulation Section Program Manager Sarah Holcomb at (505) 827-2798.


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