ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico water regulators have voted unanimously in favor of a settlement that puts to rest a dispute over the regulation of waste from New Mexico's $2.6 billion dairy industry.

The Water Quality Control Commission's vote came Wednesday during a hearing in Santa Fe.

The dairy rule was initially approved by the commission last year in the final month of former Democratic Gov. Bill Richardson's administration. It was meant to protect New Mexico's groundwater from dairy discharges.

The industry appealed, and months of negotiations ensued.

State officials are touting the settlement as a way to protect water while allowing dairies flexibility with day-to-day operations.

Under the settlement, monitoring wells will have to be installed and synthetic liners will be required for any new or leaking waste impoundments.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.