Drinking Water Quality
Due to the large geographical size and the diverse land/water uses, the University of New Mexico (UNM) has operated its own potable/drinking water system on the Central Campus and portions of the North Campus for decades. UNM’s water system continues to save the university more than $100,000 per year in operating costs, as opposed to buying our potable/drinking water from the Albuquerque-Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority (ABCWUA).
Drinking water supplied by the UNM system continues to be safer and of much better quality than required by all state and federal drinking water standards. The UNM Facilities Management and EHS work together to cost-effectively maintain the best quality drinking water for our campus customers.
To keep our campus customers informed about the quality of their drinking water, we annually produce a Consumer Confidence Report (CCR), delivered via email to all faculty and staff who work on the Albuquerque Campuses. The Safe Drinking Water Act requires all public water systems above a specific size to publicize drinking water quality information to their customers, including the annual CCRs.
Groundwater pumped from the campus well supplies the drinking water for UNM’s Central Campus and portions of the North Campus. Due to geographical separations and limited utility connections, ABCWUA supplies drinking water to the Hospital and South Campus. During the UNM system outages, all campuses use A/BCWUA water. For information regarding ABCWUA water quality, contact the information line at 857–8260 or visit the Water Quality Report Website.
The well that supplies the Central and North Campus produces water at 2,000 gallons per minute from a maximum depth of about 720 feet below the ground. This water then distributes out to campus from a 1,250,000 gallon storage tank.
As required for all public water systems above a specific size, the NMED conducted an independent assessment of the vulnerability of UNM’s drinking water source to contamination; to obtain a copy of the NMED’s November 2002 UNM Source Water Assessment, please contact EHS.
UNM remains involved in a trichloroethylene (TCE) contaminated groundwater investigation with the New Mexico Environment Department (NMED). The research discovered low levels of TCE in the upper (shallow) aquifer on portions of the Central Campus and off-campus areas to the south, with no TCE detected in the lower (deeper) and higher producing sections of the aquifer that flow into UNM's water supply well. Given a host of variables, the source of the TCE contamination remains unknown.
Third-party pump testing to assess the connection or isolation of the upper/shallow sections to the lower/deeper areas of the aquifer strongly suggests that they are hydraulically isolated from each other, which is good news for UNM. Regardless, Facilities Management samples and analyzes the water from UNM's well each month to monitor the situation, which still shows an absence of TCE at or above the laboratory analytical method detection limit.
If you desire to have input into future decision-making regarding drinking water quality at UNM, please contact EHS.