Water Resources Field Methods Reports



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On June 29, 2000, Bernalillo County released a draft wastewater ordinance, Bernalillo County Wastewater Ordinance, for public comment; in the fall of 2000, this ordinance was adopted. The ordinance is intended to protect public health and safety by establishing minimum criteria for the design, installation, inspection, treatment, and management of commercial and domestic wastewater systems. The ordinance is detailed and perhaps difficult to understand for the average homeowner in the East Mountain Area (EMA). It encompasses engineering, permitting, and maintenance requirements for new or modified septic systems in place after the effective date of this ordinance. Without thorough review and understanding of the ordinance, the homeowner could easily jeopardize his/her ability to operate their individual septic systems and/or face serious monetary consequences if their septic systems are not in compliance with the ordinance. The WR 573 summer 2000 class has prepared a simple, straightforward guidebook for EMA residents of Bernalillo County to use as a tool for understanding and complying with the new ordinance. Topics were researched and discussed within the context of the guidebook to help EMA homeowners fulfill their responsibilities under the ordinance, including inspection, compliance, permitting, and maintenance requirements of their individual septic tank systems. The guidebook is written in question-and-answer format, and each answer builds upon information provided within the guidebook. The guidebook was written for the average homeowner and is presented in non-technical language. We assumed that most homeowners would be neither qualified for nor desirous of doing most of the work required to bring their systems into compliance and would therefore hire a contractor. The guidebook was written to help the homeowner understand the process; most of the details are left to the contractor. Most of our information was drawn from the ordinance, studies of the East Mountain Area hydrologic system, or discussions with knowledgeable people. As a public-oriented user guide, specific references to documents were eliminated from the body of text. References are included at the end of the guidebook. The summer 2000 Water Resources 573 class, under the guidance of instructors Dr. Michael Campana and Dr. Michele Minnis, has synthesized our combined research into this guidebook entitled, East Mountain Area Septic System User's Guide to the 2000 Bernalillo County Wastewater Ordinance. The guidebook will be edited and published as a Water Resources Program publication and copies provided to NOAA and Bernalillo County.



Publication Date



Sewage disposal, Rural--New Mexico--Bernalillo County., Septic tanks--New Mexico--Bernalillo County--Maintenance and repair., Septic tanks--Law and legislation--New Mexico--Bernalillo County., Sewerage--Law and legislation--New Mexico--Bernalillo County., East Mountain Area (Bernalillo County, N.M.)


Water Resources 573, Field Methods course publication. Water Resources Program, University of New Mexico.

The East Mountain Area septic system user's guide to the Bernalillo County Wastewater Ordinance : ensuring groundwater sustainability