Private Well Outreach at Bernalillo County, What We Have Done and Where We Are Going

Tuesday, February 23, 2016: 3:30 p.m.
Sara Chudnoff, PG , Natural Resource Services, Albuquerque, NM

Bernalillo County, located in central New Mexico, encompasses 1,160 mi2 and has a population of 662,564 (2010 census). The majority of the population resides within the City of Albuquerque and its adjacent areas which are served by a local water utility that uses both groundwater and surface water. Within those adjacent areas, there are a few smaller areas that rely on domestic and shared wells, such as the North Albuquerque Acres (NAA). East of Albuquerque are the Sandia and Manzano Mountains, and a community on the other side of the mountains locally referred to as the East Mountain Area (EMA). The population in the EMA depends solely on groundwater, with roughly 53 percent of the population relying on domestic wells.

All wells within Bernalillo County are permitted by the Office of the State Engineer (OSE) or by the OSE and the county. The county’s Natural Resource Services (NRS) section through its outreach efforts to domestic well users helps to raise their awareness of water quantity and water quality. Through the NRS residents can participate in free water testing, free well education classes, the Water Level Monitoring Program to help them better understand the aquifer system, and learn how to properly care for their wells (from applicable regulations to sampling and disinfection). To achieve these efforts, the county collaborates with several agencies including the State of New Mexico’s Department of Health, Environment Department, Bureau of Geology, and the OSE.

This presentation is an overview of the county’s outreach efforts to domestic well users, a summary of responses from the residents who participate in that outreach, and the ongoing collaboration among the involved agencies.

Sara Chudnoff, PG, Natural Resource Services, Albuquerque, NM
Sara Chudnoff is the Bernalillo County Hydrogeologist. Her primary role and focus at the county is implementing and operating the county’s water level monitoring program, and helping raise awareness of water quantity and water quality for domestic well users. Chudnoff holds a B.S. in Geology from the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology and a master’s degree in Water Resources from the University of New Mexico. She has been with Bernalillo County since 2010.