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Water Chemistry Program

Providing environmental inorganic testing services for the health of New Mexicans and the health of New Mexico’s environment.


Dissolved Analytes (Nutrients, minerals…)

"The concentration of analytes determined in a sample after the sample is filtered through a 0.45 micron filter". The determination of dissolved materials is directed at only those particles, molecules, and elementary forms of the analytes that are able to pass through a 0.45 micron filter. The sample must be filtered at the time of collection, but before the addition of any acid preservation. Further filtering may be done at the laboratory.

Total Analytes (Nutrients, etc.)

The determination of a total for any analyte is directed at all forms of an analyte in the sample, including dissolved as well as particulate forms of the particular analyte in question. The sample may undergo a volume reduction step, followed by an acid digestion step. The sample is then brought up to volume with reagent water and filtered if necessary.

NOTE: The sample should NOT be filtered at the time of collection.

Preservative (Preservation, Preserved…)

Chemical added to a sample to maintain the concentration and integrity of the target analyte for a specified period of time. The preservative must not be one of the targeted analytes or suspected interferents for the test requested. Cyanide samples must be preserved at the time of collection with Sodium Hydroxide (NaOH). Those samples requiring preservation with sulfuric acid must be preserved at the time of collection. Please see the Sample Collection and Preservation section for detailed information.

Drinking Water

The Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) mandates that public water systems conduct routine testing for regulated and certain un-regulated inorganic contaminants. Primary contaminants have established Maximum Contaminant Levels (MCL) which are legally enforceable standards. Primary contaminants are known to cause health problems. Secondary contaminants are known to cause aesthetic objections only, such as appearance, taste and odor, but have no enforceable standard.

Primary Contaminants (MCL in mg/L)

  • Nitrate + Nitrite (10)
  • Nitrite (1)
  • Fluoride (4)
  • Cyanide (0.2)

Secondary Contaminants

  • Alkalinity
  • Chloride
  • Sulfate
  • Total Dissolved Solids

The Water Chemistry Section provides routine examination of these parameters in support of the SDWA by EPA approved methods found in the Code of Federal Regulations (40 CFR, Part 141-43).

Learn More

Please use the Safe Drinking Water Information System Search for more information regarding possible MCL violations in your public drinking water supply. You may also find the Private Drinking Water Well Consumer Information a good resource regarding private wells.


Analytical testing of all non-drinking water samples, including water, sediment, soil and sludge, other solids, biological (serum, blood and tissue), and other materials can be performed our Air and Heavy Metals section.

Samples from regulated programs such as the Clean Water Act are examined by EPA approved methods found in the Code of Federal Regulations (40 CFR, Parts 136, 258-60; see the methods section to access the Code of Federal Regulations). EPA approved methods and variations thereof are used to examine samples from non-regulated programs.