ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — With drought a constant consideration for New Mexico, state and federal officials are warning that decisions about water are growing more complicated and opportunities to tap untraditional sources should be considered.
The state, with the help of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, has drafted a document that outlines areas where regulations can be streamlined to encourage the treatment and reuse of wastewater that comes from oil and natural gas operations.
The white paper released late last week says oil and gas production in New Mexico generated nearly 38 billion gallons (143 billion liters) of wastewater in 2017. As the boom in oil production continues in the Permian Basin’s well fields along the Texas-New Mexico border, officials say so will the amount of wastewater — known in the industry as produced water.
“Our effort to clarify the state and federal regulatory landscape dealing with produced water will facilitate greater produced water reuse and recycling and in turn help relieve the growing demand on the state’s water resources,” state energy secretary Ken McQueen said in a statement.
Aside from highlighting New Mexico’s rise in 2018 as one of the largest oil-producing states in the U.S., the document […]