New Mexico
Environment Department

Contact Information:
(505) 827-2855 MAIN // 1-800-219-6157 (toll free)
Environmental Emergencies:
505-827-9329 (24 hrs)

New Mexico Produced Water

House Bill 546, which includes the Produced Water Act, went 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.”

These meetings were held ahead of any formal NMED rulemaking processes that will lead to regulations over the reuse and treatment of produced water outside of the oil and gas industry, as stipulated in the Produced Water Act. NMED has not set a timeline by which formal rulemaking will commence. Any regulations that are drafted must go through a formal rulemaking process before the state’s Water Quality Control Commission, including the opportunity for the public to comment.

Please submit feedback at  NMED will use this feedback 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 note that although we will not be providing specific written responses to feedback received via this email account, all feedback will be reviewed and considered by NMED’s Produced Water Team. During subsequent rulemaking processes, the public will have an opportunity to submit formal public comments.