Surface Water Quality NM

The Surface Water Quality Bureau is beginning preparations for the next Triennial Review of New Mexico’s Surface Water Quality Standards. Such a review must be conducted periodically as required by the federal Clean Water Act and EPA regulations.  The public is invited to identify issues of concern in the standards and to propose revisions for consideration.

Please note that this is the scoping phase of the Triennial Review preparations; there will be opportunities for public comment on specific proposals at a later date.

The Water Quality Standards (20.6.4 NMAC) establish designated uses for surface waters across the state, specify water quality criteria to protect those uses and contain an antidegradation policy. The Bureau has identified a number of issues that may need attention during the upcoming review. Among the changes the Bureau is considering are the following:

  • Revisions to segment-specific standards to apply appropriate protections for existing and designated aquatic life uses, particularly in the southern part of New Mexico.
  • Procedures to allow temporary site-specific standards to be proposed, adopted, and implemented.
  • Updates to aquatic life, primary contact recreation and wildlife habitat criteria based on EPA’s most recent recommendations.
  • Listing of unclassified waters determined to be ephemeral waters ( NMAC) pursuant to Subsection C of Section NMAC.
  • Conduct review of waters designated with limited aquatic life and secondary contact uses to ensure these designations are still correct.
  • Revisions to clarify applicability of criteria or to correct grammatical errors.

Interested parties may comment on these areas or others. Suggestions may apply to statewide provisions or only to a particular water body. Bureau staff are also available to meet with stakeholder groups, as requested, for informal discussions regarding their issue of concern. Please direct any comments by Wednesday, May 15, 2013 to:

Kristine L. Pintado, Water Quality Standards Coordinator
Surface Water Quality Bureau
PO Box 26110, Santa Fe, NM 87502


Information about New Mexico’s water quality standards can be found at: Additional information about water quality in general is available on the Surface Water Quality Bureau’s website:


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