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Private Wells and Manganese

Manganese can be naturally occurring in New Mexico geology and dissolve into groundwater. It may also get into the environment from industrial processes and products.

The most common result of high manganese concentrations in water is aesthetic effects (black/brown color and bitter taste) and build up that may cause plumbing problems.

Manganese is essential for some bodily processes and can be found in a variety of foods, soil, water, and air.

The body more easily absorbs manganese from water than food. Manganese in well water is not usually associated with health problems, however, long-term exposure to manganese in drinking water above 0.3 milligrams per Liter (mg/L) may be associated with neurotoxicity related health problems in some people, including muscle weakness.

Learn more about Manganese and Health.
Levels of various naturally-occurring and man-made constituents in New Mexico groundwater including manganese, might be elevated above the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Safe Drinking Water secondary standards (related to color and taste). Ongoing drought conditions and aquifer mining have raised further concern that increases in constituents may occur in the absence of significant ground water recharge events. To assure that the water is safe for human consumption, well owners should periodically test their wells.

The information available on this page, including the maps, demonstrates manganese found in tested private wells in New Mexico based on the data available from various sources.

To know the manganese concentration in your water from your own well, you need to test. It is important to know your water chemistry before choosing a treatment system.
Learn about testing.
Learn about treatment.

Wells Sampled 1964-2018

Manganese levels in water samples from private wells vary between New Mexico counties and even within the same county. The groundwater system in New Mexico is very complex. This complexity can lead to manganese concentration variability even amongst neighboring wells. Therefore, to know the manganese concentration in your water from your own well, you need to test.

The secondary safe drinking water concentration for manganese, related to aesthetics (color and taste), is 0.05 milligrams per liter (mg/L). Some of the water samples from wells in all counties (with 20 or more samples) appear to exceed this Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Safe Drinking Water secondary standard.

Drinking water containing manganese more than EPA's standard could contribute to undesirable color, and taste and may contribute to problems in plumbing systems. Manganese build up in plumbing systems may stain plumbing fixtures, reduce water flow and affect water using appliances.

Learn more about Manganese and Health. Manganese Distribution in NM private wells 1964-2018

Manganese Distribution in New Mexico Private Wells (Wells Sampled Nov 1964 - Oct 2018
Manganese Distribution in New Mexico Private Wells (Wells Sampled Nov 1964 - Oct 2018
New Mexico Private Wells Inventory (Manganese Test Results Summary Nov 1964 - Oct 2018
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Content updated: Thu, 4 Jun 2020 16:26:02 MDT