Work continuing in New Mexico to reuse oil and gas wastewater

Every day, oil and gas drilling in New Mexico produces 3.5 million barrels of byproduct water, brought up from the same shale formations as fossil fuels.

Known by the industry as “produced water,” the water is high in salt, and could contain dangerous chemicals toxic to humans.

For every barrel of oil, between four and 11 barrels of this produced water could be generated.

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And as fracking boomed in southeast New Mexico’s Permian Basin, it drew concerns that the state’s scarce water resources could be sacrificed for the profits of its largest industry. 

“Not only does the oil and gas industry drive climate disruption, but it consumes billions of gallons of New Mexico’s precious fresh water every year in the fracking process and literally converts it into a toxic liquid waste that requires disposal,” said Camilla Feibelman, executive director of the Rio Grande Chapter of the Sierra Club.