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The Board of County Commissioners on Oct. 28 unanimously approved changes to the Bernalillo County Wastewater Systems Ordinance to prevent groundwater pollution from aging septic systems. 

The amended ordinance will require evaluation of on-site residential wastewater systems that are more than 30 years old and require repair or replacement when necessary; it also defines circumstances under which conventional septic systems may be replaced, based on the geology and the number and spacing of surrounding wastewater systems; and updates technical requirements to align the county ordinance with recently adopted state regulations.

“Septic systems are a significant source of groundwater pollution in Bernalillo County,” says Commissioner Maggie Hart Stebbins. “We are taking this proactive step to address contamination before it happens and protect our scarce water resources for future generations.”

The amendment calls for:

  • inspection and evaluation of septic tanks greater than 30 years in age;
  • the replacement of septic systems found to be failing; and
  • a recurring, five-year evaluation of functioning septic systems greater than 30 years in age.

The county has income-based financial assistance programs available to help residents connect to sewer or to assist with evaluation, repair or replacement of septic systems.

Residents interested in more information about these programs should contact the Bernalillo County Natural Resource Services Office at (505) 848-1524 or visit the county website at www.bernco.gov/pipe.

The changes to the wastewater ordinance become effective on Nov. 27, 2014.

To read the full ordinance, please click here.

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