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Aprill 2022: New Mexico Septic Regulations Area Big Deal!

Key Points:

  1. To build a house you must have 3/4 of an acre in order to install a conventional septic system, otherwise you will need a holding tank or a split system.
  2. You can not have a leach field within 100 feet of any water source, including your well or a neighbor’s well.
  3. If you buy a house with an existing septic system, the system must be inspected prior to transfer. This ensures the buyer that the system is up to code and functioning properly.

New Mexico Septic regulations are a big deal and can definitely have an effect on the property you are looking at buying or selling.


If you are buying a house within a municipality that offers sewer, you do not need to concern yourself with septic regulations. If you are buying or selling outside of a municipality, as is the case in our rural communities, there are some key points you should know.


All septic systems must be inspected prior to conveyance to a new owner. New Mexico septic regulations require you to have at least 3/4 of an acre to install a conventional septic system. If you have an existing house that is on less than 3/4 of an acre and it was previously permitted and it passes a state inspection, then you are good to go: it is grandfathered in.


If the system does not pass an inspection, then you will be required to bring it up to code, which could include a simple repair or the complete abandonment of the system and the installation of a new system.
If a new system is required and you have less than 3/4 of an acre, then you are most likely looking at installing a holding tank or an advanced treatment system. Every situation is unique, and an assessment can be done by a licensed inspector to determine the best path forward.


Another thing to consider is proximity to water. A septic system leach field cannot be installed within 100 feet of a stream or well, even if it’s the neighbor’s well, so planning is key.


Septic inspections usually happen once a house for sale goes under contract. If the septic system does not pass inspection, then the cost of repairs becomes a negotiable item between buyer and seller. Regardless of what is negotiated, though, the legal owner of the property at 180 days from the date of the failed inspection is responsible for repairing it.


Even if the house does not end up selling, the owner is still responsible for its repair or replacement. If they have not been completed within 180 days, the house may be red-tagged by the New Mexico Environmental Department and occupancy would be prohibited until the repairs have been made.
If you are considering selling your home and would like more information, please do not hesitate to contact me, I’m always happy to help.

Author

  • Rob Swan, Qualifying Broker, NMREC Lic# 19097 - (575) 770-2958 Cell - (575) 613-4243 Office, (575) 613-1805 Fax