House Passes Bill to Safeguard Drinking Water
HB 511 Criminalizes Making False Statements or Falsifying Data on Water Quality
Santa Fe, NM – Tonight, the House passed a bill to protect consumer rights and public health by imposing penalties for lying to inspectors or falsifying data related to the quality of drinking water. Owners and operators of drinking water supply systems could be charged with a felony if they knowingly provide false information to the New Mexico Environment Department.
“Our people deserve to have clean water in their homes and for their families. It is unacceptable that thousands of New Mexicans have been under a boil-water advisory for months now after test results were falsified,” said Representative Nathan Small (D-Las Cruces), the bill's sponsor. “No one should be able to jeopardize public health and our environment with impunity.”
Currently, it is not a crime to make false statements or falsify data relating to water quality. Thousands of Farmington-area residents have been under a boil-water advisory for months after regulators said the local water system had provided false water quality data to the New Mexico Environment Department, leading to severe illnesses and damage to washing machines and water heaters.
HB 511 passed by a vote of 66 to 0 and now moves to the Senate.