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Water Quality

People drink and use water every day. Therefore, the environmental health impacts of drinking water are extremely important. The majority of New Mexicans are provided high quality drinking water. About 90% of people in New Mexico get their water from a Community Drinking Water system.

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sets regulations for treating and monitoring drinking water delivered by community water systems. There are water quality standards and monitoring requirements for over 90 contaminants.

The New Mexico Environmental Public Health Tracking works closely with community, state, and federal organizations to explore connections between drinking water and health outcomes. In addition our Biomonitoring Program program looks at arsenic and Contaminants in urine and drinking water.

Safe Drinking Water Act

The Safe Water Drinking Act is the main federal law that ensures the quality of Americans' drinking water.

It gives the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) the authority to set national standards to protect against both naturally occurring and man-made contaminants that may be found in drinking water.

This act does not regulate private wells that serve fewer than 25 individuals.

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Waterborne Disease and Organisms

The two most common ways of getting a waterborne disease is either through drinking water or recreational water, such as swimming pools, spas, hot tubs, hot springs, lakes and streams.

The New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH) and the New Mexico Environment Department work together to protect the public from waterborne diseases by examining waterborne disease and drinking water standards in the state in order to assess the safety of New Mexico’s public drinking water system.

Each week, NMDOH looks at all the following reported diseases and organisms, which are potentially waterborne, in an effort to help ensure the safety of New Mexico's public drinking water.

These diseases can also be passed through food or from person-to-person contact. Careful monitoring ensures the infections are not related to public water systems. To date, no actual infectious waterborne disease outbreaks related to public drinking water systems have been detected. Of course, the Health and Environment departments remain vigilant for any potential incidents, and monitor those areas with water systems that have had problems meeting federal drinking water quality standards.

The New Mexico Department of Health also investigates Water Illness such as Swimmer's Itch and blue-green algae to prevent disease outbreaks.

Visit our Contaminants and Arsenic pages for additional information about environmental contaminants in drinking water.

Private Wells

New Mexico Environmental Public Health Tracking monitors well water and drinking water quality. On this site, there is information about testing, treatment, resources and an interactive data query.

About 10% of New Mexicans rely on smaller water supplies, mostly household Private Well, that are not regulated by the EPA or the state. Drinking water protection programs at the state and national levels play a critical role in ensuring high quality drinking water and protecting the public health.

If you have a private well, regular water quality testing is very important. Many contaminants cannot be identified by taste or odor, making it difficult for homeowners to know if the water quality of their well has changed. The EPA does not regulate private wells and many states and towns do not require periodic sampling of private wells after they are initially installed. This makes it the responsibility of homeowners to periodically test their well for contamination.

Visit our Private Well Testing page to learn more about testing wells and water filtration options. Well owners may also find our Water Well Resources page helpful.

Resources are available for well owners. Get the well owner guides and learn how to protect the quality of your drinking water.


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