Santamarina Steta

Voluntary programs for compliance with the quality of wastewater discharges

December 2022 | Printable version

  • In March 2023, new parameters will come into force that requires wastewater to have better quality.
  • The guidelines establish the possibility for those who discharge wastewater to propose to CONAGUA no later than April 3, 2023, a compliance program with concrete actions to improve wastewater quality.
  • Whoever does not present this program must ensure their downloads comply with the new parameters as of April 3, 2023.

In March 2022, the Official Mexican Standard NOM-001-SEMARNAT-2021 (NOM) was published, which establishes the permissible limits of pollutants in wastewater discharges in receiving bodies owned by the nation. It sets new limits and stricter conditions that wastewater discharges to rivers, lakes, and the subsoil must comply with, granting one year for those who carry out said discharges (the "Bound Subjects") to adapt their processes to ensure that they will comply with the NOM.

To facilitate compliance with the NOM for the Obliged Subjects, on December 5, 2022, the Guidelines were published that establish the general administrative provisions for the presentation of the compliance programs based on the fourth transitory article of the NOM (the "Guidelines").


The Guidelines establish that the Obligated Subjects that must modify their facilities and/or change their production processes may submit to the National Water Commission (CONAGUA) a compliance program where actions, conditions, and goals are established so that their discharges comply with the NOM, giving a maximum term of March 11, 2027.

The compliance submission programs are voluntary and may be done from March 11
to April 3, 2023.

Those who choose not to present the program must ensure that their downloads comply with the NOM guidelines as of April 3, 2023.

If CONAGUA verifies that the Obligated Subjects do not comply with the commitments established in the program, said Commission will proceed to cancel it. In this case, the Obliged Subject must immediately comply with the NOM.

Failure to comply with the parameters established in the NOM would be equivalent to discharging contaminated water, which would give rise to administrative, environmental, civil, and criminal responsibilities.


First, verify the obligations derived from the discharge permit, ensure that the treatment plant is in optimal conditions, and that discharge analyses and declarations to CONAGUA are carried out periodically, ensuring the current discharge conditions are met.

Subsequently, check with the analyzes of the current wastewater and with the technical opinion of specialists, whether or not the current discharge complies with the parameters established in the NOM. If the current discharges do not meet the NOM requirements, it is advisable to formulate the compliance program referred to in the Guidelines and submit it to CONAGUA within the corresponding period.

Finally, we recommend legal and technical support to ensure proper compliance with the NOM, as well as the National Water Law.

To consult the original publication in the DOF, visit:

Vicente Grau
Mexico City
+52 55 5279 5466

Claudia Rodríguez
Mexico City
+52 55 5279 5408

Heriberto Garza
+52 81 8133 6010