Deadline to Comply with Requirements of Mexico's Wastewater Disposal Standard Fast Approaching

07 February 2023 Publication
Author(s): Alejandro N Gomez-Strozzi Marco Antonio Najera Martinez

Beginning March 2023, all businesses operating in Mexico regardless of size will need to comply with new requirements for wastewater discharge into rivers, basins, watercourses, other bodies of water, and into any type of surface. 

Mandatory standard NOM 001 SEMARNAT 2021 (NOM 001 of 2021 or Wastewater Standard) that deals with permissible pollutant limits in wastewater discharged into surface and groundwater bodies goes into effect on March 11, 2023 (See March 11, 2022 Federal Official Gazette).

NOM 001 of 2021 replaces NOM 001 of 1996 that routinely allowed for underreporting of pollutants in wastewater according to government sources. NOM 001 of 2021 is more stringent and includes other contamination standards such as “true water color” and “water toxicity.”

The new wastewater standard includes a Voluntary Fulfillment Program that could extend compliance with NOM 001 of 1996 obligations until March 2027 (See December 5, 2022 Federal Official Gazette).  The supplemental program has specific templates to be completed exclusively during the period March 11, 2023 through April 2, 2023.

The Voluntary Fulfilment Program consists of self-determined modifications by a company of its facilities or production processes so that it may attain full compliance with NOM 001 of 2021 by March 2027. During this period, reports must be submitted twice a year to authorities to ensure progress towards compliance. If the supplemental program is not timely requested, or if the proposed modifications do not proceed as scheduled, full compliance with NOM 001 of 2021 will be required immediately. 

There are a number of government authorities behind this new mandatory standard with the Mexican National Water Commission (known as CONAGUA) leading the charge. There is the possibility of early face-to-face engagement with authorities to discuss fulfillment and compliance with the new environmental obligations.

The Mexico City office of Foley & Lardner can assist multinationals and their local operations manage the requirements of this and various other local legal requirements.