In November of 1993, the Bernalillo County Commission adopted the Groundwater Protection Policy and Action Plan (GPPAP).

The GPPAP outlines steps that should be taken by our community to protect one of our most valuable resources, groundwater. Our primary source of drinking water in Bernalillo County is groundwater.

Septic tanks have been identified as a main source of groundwater contamination, particularly along the Rio Grande Valley where the ground-water table is high. For this reason, both the City and County have made the removal of septic tanks and the connection of homes to municipal sewer lines along the Rio Grande Valley a priority. In addition, it is important to note that the Bernalillo County Wastewater Ordinance requires all homes to connect to municipal sewer lines if their property is located within 200 feet of a sewer line that is available for connection.

Steps to Sewer Connection

The following steps should help to illustrate the sewer connection process.

  1. First, contact the Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority (ABCWUA) to determine if sewer is available in your area. If it is available, that department can give you the cost for the Utility Expansion Charge (UEC), a one time fee for connection.  If you are in need of financial assistance regarding these fees, there are two options available to you: ​ ​
    • ​​ABCWUA Loan Program - Rather than paying the full UEC fees at the time you apply for service, the ABCWUA offers a loan program to applicants. It includes a down payment and monthly payment.   
    • ​Financial Assistance from Bernalillo County - The PIPE Program  ​The Bernalillo County Public Works Department provides financial assistance to help qualified homeowners connect to sewer. Partners in Improvement and Protection of the Environment (PIPE) program will contract with a plumber to connect your home and remove the septic tank. For additional information about the PIPE program please contact the Bernalillo County Public Works Department at 848-1500.
  2.  Next, hire a licensed Plumber to connect your home to the sewer stub located at your property line and abandon your septic tank.  The plumber’s responsibilities:
    • The  plumber is required to obtain a plumbing permit from the County Building and Zoning Department. The plumber should provide you with a copy of the permit. 
  3. Finally, contact ABCWUA when the plumber has completed connecting your home to sewer.

How to Connect to Municipal Sewer Lines Yourself

If you do the following you, as the homeowner, can install the building line and abandon the septic tank:

  1. Contact the Bernalillo County Building and Zoning Department and make arrangements to take the “Homeowner Plumbing Test.”
  2. Take and pass the test.
  3. Apply for a plumbing permit.
  4. Do the work authorized under the plumbing permit.
  5. Call for the appropriate inspections.  
  6.  Abandoning a septic tank is demolition work; therefore extra care should be taken when crushing the tank.
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