Ministry of the Environment releases 2024 performance report highlighting achievements and community investment

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NMED News:

SANTA FE — The New Mexico Department of the Environment (NMED) has released its Fiscal Year 2024 (FY24) First Quarter (Q1) Performance Evaluation Report. This report provides the public, stakeholders, and legislators with an opportunity to track the Department’s progress in protecting public health and the environment. Environment from July 1 to September 30, 2023.

This report also provides insight into budget and staffing challenges that impact performance.

First quarter results highlighted in the report include:

  • Submit advanced clean car and advanced clean truck regulations to the Environmental Improvement Committee.
  • We offer free well inspections in Clovis, Mountainair, and Lamy.
  • Initiated 567 enforcement actions and resolved 79 others.
  • Advanced Chemical Treatment, LLC, citing storage of hazardous waste outside designated areas, inadequate documentation of facility inspections, inaccurate waste reporting, and inadequate characterization of hazardous waste as accepted by the Chemical Control Act. The company is levying a $745,000 civil penalty for alleged violations of the company’s operating license, including failing to do so.facilities; and
  • More than $1 million in citations issued to the City of Albuquerque and Consolidated Builders of New Mexico for exposing workers to asbestos at Gateway Center.

NMED also completed 2,698 compliance inspections in the first quarter and hired more than 30 new staff during a rapid hiring event in September.

In FY24, NMED received total recurrent appropriations of $147.7 million to protect public health and the environment. This includes $25.5 million in general funds, $62.7 million in special revenue funds (such as permit fees), and $59.5 million in federal funds. NMED also made one-time disbursements of $45.5 million for designated projects/purposes.

The performance report, prepared by NMED’s Office of Strategic Initiatives, provides data on 46 performance indicators across five broad categories for 24 fiscal years:

  • 6 public health measures;
  • 9 environmental protection measures,
  • 24 compliance measures,
  • Four economic investment measures and
  • Three operational measures.

The 46 performance indicators are primarily based on a fiscal year 2024 agreement between NMED and the Department of Finance and Management and the State Finance Commission under the Government Accountability Act. NMED uses these reports to provide additional context and information to the public and Congress.

Highlights of the report include:

  • 98.3% of New Mexicans were breathing clean air.
  • 90.1% of New Mexicans had safe drinking water.
  • NMED staff conducted 2,698 compliance inspections across the state.
  • The inspections conducted found compliance above standards in five programs, but below target in three regulatory program areas.
    • Surface Water Discharge Permit: 100% Compliance
    • Groundwater discharge permit holder: 97.5% compliance
    • Liquid waste program (purification systems, etc.): 95.8% compliance
    • Radiology licensing program (e.g. medical devices): 94.8% compliant
    • Solid waste and infectious waste management facilities: 90.9% compliant.
    • Restaurants and food manufacturers: 73.4% comply
    • Hazardous waste management facility: 60.0% compliance
    • Atmospheric emission source: 50.0% compliant
  • NMED Drinking Water Department staff provided direct technical assistance to 16 local water systems to help them move from non-compliant to compliant status.

This report includes the NMED Staff Workload Snapshot and supporting data in Appendix A, which provides insight into the workload challenges facing resource-strapped agencies. For example, at current staffing levels, each NMED Occupational Safety and Health Inspector regulates an average of 6,804 facilities. If each inspected a facility on each working day, it would take him 29 years for this team to visit each site.

Each Construction Planning Bureau (CPB) technical staff member oversees 149 individual projects. Despite this workload, CPB still launched 65 new water infrastructure projects across the state in the first quarter, disbursing $16.7 million to communities in need of water infrastructure.

NMED’s vacancy rate during this period was approximately 21.2% last quarter. Based on exit interview data and the department’s annual employee engagement survey, NMED vacancies are driven by more complex work and the opportunity to earn higher compensation in retirement.

View 2024 1st quarter performance review here.

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