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Experts say produced water from the Permian Basin may hit 1 billion barrels per day within the next decade.

The Hobbs News-Sun reports New Mexico EnergyPlex Conference panelist Nathan Zaugg told attendees last week that the billion barrels per day estimate could fill Elephant Butte Lake in around 21 days.

Produced water also contains heavy metals including zinc, lead, manganese, iron and barium.
Zaugg, industrial group leader for Carollo Engineers of Salt Lake City, said his company and a New Mexico company are working together to address the problem with urgency.

Ken McQueen, secretary for the New Mexico Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department, says companies now know the importance of recycling water, realizing brackish water as a source rather than using fresh water.