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New Mexico Groundwater Standards

(1991 WQCC Regulations)

Attachment I lists the WQCC water quality standards for ground water. If the existing concentration of any water contaminant in ground water is less than the standard, then degradation of ground water up to the limit of the standard is allowed. If the existing concentration of any water contaminant exceeds the standard than no degradation of the ground water beyond the existing concentration will be allowed.

The State Engineer has defined protectable underground water as all waters in the State of New Mexico containing 10,000 milligrams/liter or less of total dissolved solids (TDS). This does not include any water for which there is no present or reasonably foreseeable beneficial use that would be impaired by contamination (Attachment II). Although not formally defined, the term "reasonably foreseeable" has been taken to mean a time period of not less than 200 years in the future, and in other instances to mean much longer times (thousand of years).

The water in lakes and playas should not be contaminated even though they contain more than 10,000 mg/l TDS unless it can be shown that contamination of the lake or playa will not adversely affect ground water hydrologically connected to the lake or playa.

The surface waters of all streams within the State of New Mexico, regardless of the quality of the water within any given reach, are designated for protection.

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