New US project to explore drilling wastewater reuse

The Environmental Protection Agency has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the State of New Mexico for the project

By Priyanka Shrestha

A new project aims to explore wastewater reuse options in the natural gas and oil industry in the US.

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the State of New Mexico to clarify the existing regulatory and permitting frameworks related to the way wastewater from extraction activities can be reused, recycled and renewed for other purposes.

Large volumes of wastewater are generated in the oil and gas industry and that is projected to increase. Last year, operators in New Mexico produced around 900 million barrels of wastewater, most of which was disposed of in underground injection wells.

A workgroup will be convened to develop a white paper that looks at existing regulatory framework and identifies potential opportunities for treated water.

David P. Ross, EPA Office of Water Assistant Administrator said: “While underground injection certainly has its utility and place, alternatives are available that treat wastewater from oil and natural gas extraction for re-introduction into the hydrologic cycle which is especially important in arid areas suffering from drought like New Mexico.”

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