NMOCD Groundwater Discharge Permits
For operators in New Mexico, the NMOCD has recently released guidance and communicated to operators that under Water Quality Control Commission (WQCC) regulations 18.104.22.16804 and 3106 and the Oil and Gas Act, intentional or potential facility discharges that could impact groundwater or threaten public health and environment must be permitted. The agency has determined that if there is storage of materials, chemicals, or waste at a facility, there is potential for discharge. The NMOCD has already worked with refineries and has now distributed letters to gas plant operators. They anticipate it will take 1 year to address gas plants, then letters will be delivered to compressor station and yard operators, then tank battery operators. These notices specify 60 days to respond for facilities that were constructed after the 1970s and 120 days to respond for older facilities. This does not allow for much time to pull the comprehensive document together.
Ensolum staff have experience writing discharge permits for both intentional facility discharges and we are working with current clients to meet the new deadlines for potential discharges. This includes coordinating information in the new NMOCD Guidance Document with existing (and similar) regulatory requirements like SPCC Plans, stormwater permits, and groundwater monitoring to efficiently address discharge permit requirements without adding duplicative tasks and recordkeeping mechanisms. This involves lists of overlapping requirements that clients can review and provide to us for implementation. We are also developing alternatives to some of the prescriptive instructions included in the Guidance Document.
Link to Guidance Document: https://www.emnrd.nm.gov/ocd/wp-content/uploads/sites/6/GW-Discharge-Permit-Application-Guidance-Document-September-2022-1.pdf