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Septic System Ownership in New Mexico

Over 220,000 homes in New Mexico rely upon septic systems for their water supply. The New Mexico Environmental Department (NMED) regulates wastewater through five districts across the state: Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Las Cruces, Roswell, and Grants. Their mission is to help residents prevent contamination and preserve the safety of the water source.

Who Can Install a Septic System

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While consultation with a licensed septic system installation specialist is recommended, NMED does allow self-installation. Professionals must register through the state of New Mexico before they may perform any work, including installation, modification or repair to another homeowner's system. Homeowners may conduct work on their own systems, but need to obtain permits from the NMED.

Septic System Regulations

NMED requires permits for all septic systems in New Mexico. Lots sized less than ¾ acres undergo a slightly different review process to ensure that water quality remains stable. The Environmental Improvement Act, Sections 74-1-1 through 74-1-16 contain the full regulations as they pertain to septic systems and fees.

Installation Resources

The NMED maintains comprehensive lists of professionals within all five districts. In addition, complete instructions for applying for a permit are available from the department. Homeowners should mark the homeowner box if they intend to self-install. Different types of systems may function with different efficiencies depending on land size, ground water condition, ground water depth, wastewater flow, as well as other variables related to land and water resources in the installation area.

Contacting the Environmental Department

Contact information for each district is available here.
Other useful organizations may include:

National Onsite Wastewater Recycling Association: (800) 966-2942
National Small Flows Clearing House: (800) 623-8301


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