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The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulates the discharge of stormwater pollution as part of the Clean Water Act

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Programs in place

These programs regulate the stormwater discharges of Bernalillo County as part of Phase II regulations issued in 1999. These regulations require that small Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (MS4s) apply for permits.

New Mexico is one of four states that do not have authorization to issue permits under the Clean Water Act, including also Idaho, Massachusetts and New Hampshire. This means that the Federal agency, EPA, issues permits directly to local governments (cities and counties) and to New Mexico businesses and construction sites.

While new stormwater regulations have not yet been formally proposed or codified, EPA has incorporated many new features into the Watershed General Permit for the Middle Rio Grande. This Watershed General Permit was proposed on Feb. 12, 2013.

Middle Rio Grande Watershed Based MS4 General Permit No. NMR04A000

You can read Bernalillo County comments on the proposed permit, submitted to USEPA on June 30, 2013 by clicking here.

New Mexico FlagBernalillo County's Stormwater Program

Under these regulations, Bernalillo County is required to obtain permits to allow discharges to the Rio Grande. In anticipation of permit issuance, Bernalillo County first created a Stormwater Quality Management Plan, and submitted this plan to EPA in March of 2003.

Once the general permit was published in 2007, Bernalillo County Public Works Division revised the original plan and submitted a revised Stormwater Management Plan (SWMP) with a formal permit application on April 1, 2007. 

The first general permit for small MS4s in New Mexico was issued by EPA and became effective on July 1, 2007.

Bernalillo County's 2007 permit application and SWMP were approved without modification on May 11, 2011. 

New Watershed General Permit NOI

A Notice of Intent is a formal declaration or legal document stating that an agency or company is filing an application to discharge water to a regulated stream. In this case Bernalillo County has filed a notice of intent (NOI) to discharge storm water into the Rio Grande. The eNOI form and attachments were delivered to USEPA, Region 6 (Dallas) on June 15, 2015.
After a comment period of 35 days, one comment was received from the Business Water Task Force. The comment and our reply are included as Attachment 2 below. 

This NOI does not reflect the entirety of the county stormwater program, merely our intention to comply with the new permit, and some general descriptions. Because of limitations of the form itself, the text is very abbreviated and cursory. The county is still in the process of developing new program elements, as are all other agencies working together on this permit.

FY 2016 DRAFT MS4 Annual Report and Stormwater Management Program Plan (SWMP)

Below is a link to the FY 2016 DRAFT MS4 Annual Report for NPDES General Permit No. NMR04A000, as required by USEPA, Region 6. The SWMP is included as an attachment to the Annual Report. Additionally, hard copies of this document are available for public review at the following locations:

Please send all comments to water@bernco.gov or call Stormwater Program Compliance Manager Kali Bronson at (505) 224-2100. Or click here to see the document and enter your comments into a form. 


Draft Proposed Stormwater Quality Protection Ordinance

The Bernalillo County Code, Chapter 38 (commonly referred to as the Drainage Ordinance or “Floods”) addresses storm drainage and storm runoff and provides standards for the design of storm water control facilities. However, the Drainage Ordinance does not address stormwater quality.  The County’s NPDES Permit (or MS4 Permit) issued by EPA Region 6 on December 22, 2014 specifies that the County must perform certain actions, develop processes and procedures, and in some cases develop ordinances to ensure regulatory controls to provide stormwater quality protection and improvement. The draft Proposed Stormwater Quality Protection Ordinance can be found here.

The MS4 Permit addresses the requirements of the Stormwater Management Program (SWMP) through the eight control measures specified in Part I.D.5. Specifically, the control measures for Construction, Post Construction, and Illicit Discharge Detection and Elimination (or IDDE) require the development of an ordinance(s) or other regulatory mechanism(s). The draft of the proposed ordinance is based largely on similar ordinances adopted by the City of Albuquerque. Two public meetings to provide a venue for public discussion and input regarding the draft ordinance have tentatively been scheduled for November 8th and 10th in the North Valley and South Valley.  This webpage will be updated with specific information once the public meetings have been scheduled.

Additionally, hard copies of the draft Stormwater Ordinance are available for public review at the following locations:


Please send all comments to water@bernco.gov or call Stormwater Program Compliance Manager Kali Bronson at (505) 224-2100. Or click here to see the document and enter your comments into a form.

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