House Bill 546, which includes the Produced Water Actwent into effect July 1, 2019.  Produced water is defined in the Produced Water Act as “fluid that is an incidental byproduct from drilling for or the production of oil and gas.” Most produced water is naturally occurring, highly saline water that is recovered during oil and gas production. Produced water may also include fluids that were used during drilling, such as hydraulic fracturing fluids. Over 42 billion gallons of produced water were created in New Mexico’s Permian Basin in 2018 alone.

NMED hosted public meetings in October and November 2019 along with representatives from the Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department (EMNRD) and the Office of the State Engineer (OSE) to provide stakeholders with information on produced water and the upcoming rulemaking process. This public engagement process provided opportunities for stakeholders to share input with state officials on the range of critical environmental, natural resource and human health considerations involved in the implementation of the Produced Water Act.

“Our goal is to create regulations that are protective of human health and the environment, reduce industry reliance on fresh water and encourage science-based and innovative solutions,” said NMED Cabinet Secretary James Kenney. “To that end, we are including a diverse group of voices from the beginning to ensure these future regulations are done right.”

In September 2023, NMED began drafting the States Ground and Surface Water Protection – Supplemental Requirements for Water Reuse (20.6.8 NMAC) regulations which focus on the restricted reuse of produced water. Any regulation that is drafted will go through a formal rulemaking process before the state’s Water Quality Control Commission, including the opportunity for the public to comment.

Please submit your public comments to:

NMED will use these public comments to help inform our understanding of public concerns, interests, and questions related to the potential treatment of produced water and its use outside the oil and gas industry.  Please see the Public Participation Tab for updates on the current rulemaking process and how to participate.

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