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Gray Water Information

  Gray water is defined in New Mexico as,

"untreated household wastewater that has not come in contact with toilet waste and includes wastewater from bathtubs, showers, washbasins, clothes washing machines and laundry tubs, but does not include wastewater from kitchen sinks or dishwashers or laundry water from the washing of material soiled with human excreta, such as diapers."

The 2003 Legislature passed House Bill 114, codified at 74-6-2 and 74-6-4 NMSA 1978, that set conditions whereby up to 250 gallons per day of residential gray water may be used for household gardening, composting or landscaping irrigation without a permit.  Consequently, NMED issued Gray Water Irrigation Guidelines, and proposed amendments to the Liquid Waste Disposal Regulations (20.7.3 NMAC) that are consistent with the Legislative intent of House Bill 114.  The proposed amendments were discussed at a Public Meeting on November 19, 2003.  The public meeting resulted in a Sipulation to Support the proposed amendments that was signed by NMED, the N.M. Department of Health, the Sierra Club's Northern New Mexico Group, the Santa Fe Water Conservation Committee, and by the New Mexico Rural Water Association.  Additionally, the Dairy Producers of New Mexico submitted a letter in support of the amendments.  A Public Hearing before the N.M. Environmental Improvement Board (EIB) was held on December 16, 2003 to consider these amendments.  The EIB adopted all amendments recommended by the stipulating parties, and added a prohibition on discharging hazardous materials in graywater that was in Arizona's graywater regulations.  Click here to download a copy of the amendments that were adopted by the EIB.  Links to graywater laws, regulations, and guidlines of other southwestern states are provided in Table 1.  The provisions of graywater regulations adopted by EIB with those of other southwestern states are compared in Table 2.  The regulations adopted by EIB contain more protective requirements regarding graywater use than do regulations of any other states in the southwest.  The Office of the State Engineer anc NMED have developed a brochure about gray water, http://www.nmenv.state.nm.us/P2_Web/Gray_Water.pdf

Table 1.  Graywater Laws, Regulations and Guidelines of Other Southwestern State Agencies.  See Table 2 for a comparision of the provisions of each state. 
State
Graywater Provision
Arizona
Reclaimed Water General Permit for Gray Water, 18-9-711
California
Revised Graywater Standards
Colorado Gray Water Systems, VIII.D.1
(graywater systems must meet all design and construction standards for septic tank systems)
Nevada
System Utilizing Graywater for Underground Irrigation, 444.837
New Mexico State University
Safe Use of Household Greywater
Oklahoma
Individual and Small Public On-Site Sewage Disposal Systems
(definition of "sewage" includes graywater waste but no specific rules)
Texas
Treatment and Disposal of Greywater, 285.80
House Bill 2661, Standards for Control of Graywater
Utah
Proposed Graywater Systems Rule, R317-401

Table 2.  Comparison of Graywater Provisions of Other Southwestern State Agencies.  
State
permit
required
allowed flow (gpd)
overflow to sewer
tank cover
ID as non potable
no runoff from lot
no discharge to surface water
no ponding
avoid people & pets
no spraying
no veggie watering
setback distances
no public nuisance
no hazmat
Arizona

400
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X


X
California
X

X

X
X
X
X


X
X


Colorado X













Nevada
X
sfd*
X


X
X
X

X




New Mexico (adopted)

250
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
Oklahoma
X













Texas

400
X
X
X
X

X
X
X


X

Utah (proposed)
X
sfd*
X

X
X
X
X

X
X
X


* Single family dwelling

 

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