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Environmental Emergencies:
505-827-9329 (24 hrs)

New Mexico
Environment Department

WQCC Rules and Responsibilities




The basic authority for water quality management in New Mexico is provided through the State Water Quality Act (§§ 74-6-1 et seq., NMSA 1978). This law establishes the Water Quality Control Commission (WQCC, commission) and specifies its duties and powers. The commissionis the state water pollution control agency for this state for all purposes of the federal Clean Water Act and the wellhead protection and sole source aquifer programs of the federal Safe Drinking Water Act [§ 74-6-3.E, NMSA 1987].

The duties and powers of the commission include adoption of a comprehensive water quality management program, the development of a continuing planning process, the administration of loans and grants from the federal government, the adoption of water quality standards, and the adoption of regulations “to prevent or abate water pollution in the state or in any specific geographic area or watershed of the state…or for any class of waters.” Under this Act, water is defined as all water, including water situated wholly or partly within or bordering upon the state, whether surface or subsurface, public or private, except private waters that do not combine with other surface or subsurface water [§ 74-6-2.H, NMSA 1978].

The administration and enforcement of the New Mexico Utility Operator Certification Act is also vested in the Water Quality Control Commission [§ 61-33-3.A, NMSA 1978]. The commission may further delegate to the Environment Department the administration and enforcement of the Utility Operator Certification Act except: (1) the adoption of regulations; and (2) the conducting of hearings on compliance orders [§ 61-33-3.B, NMSA 1978].




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All questions regarding the Commission should be directed to:

Pam Castaneda
Administrator for Boards & Commissions

New Mexico Environment Department
P.O. Box 5469
Santa Fe, NM 87502
Tel (505) 827-2425
Fax (505)-827-1628



Harold L. Runnels Building // 1190 St. Francis Drive, Suite N4050 // Santa Fe, New Mexico 87505 // tel (800) 219-6157, (505) 827-2855

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