Monday, December 11, 2017

Southeastern New Mexico is facing water scarcity issues,

Southeastern New Mexico is facing water scarcity issues, and with an increased demand for freshwater, there is a need for alternative water sources in Eddy and Lea counties. New Mexico State University researchers are studying produced water quality spatial variability and analyzing alternative-source water in the Permian Basin. This site map shows the study area in Southeastern New Mexico and West Texas. (Image courtesy Kenneth “KC” Carroll) New Mexico State University researchers are studying produced water quality spatial variability and analyzing alternative-source water in the Permian Basin in Southeastern New Mexico and West Texas. This map shows the location of sample points in the three geo-structural regions of the Permian Basin. (Image courtesy Kenneth “KC” Carroll) Faculty and staff from New Mexico State University and the New Mexico Water Resources Research Institute teamed up with researchers from around the state for a feasibility study on the reuse of produced water last year. One of the most relevant findings from the study is that the most feasible use of produced water generated from the oil and gas industry is for that industry to reuse its own produced water, as opposed to using fresh water. Robert Sabie Jr., a geographic information systems analyst for NM WRRI, said this cost-effective solution would allow freshwater to be reserved for drinking water. “The focus of the project was to understand the opportunities for reusing treated produced water, both in and out of the oil and gas industry, in order to preserve the freshwater aquifers. Different water uses require different levels of treatment to attain an appropriate water quality. If the produced water is reused within the oil and gas industry, or for other uses with lower water quality standards, then we can use the cleaner, fresh aquifer water for drinking,” Sabie said. Kenneth “KC” Carroll, an associate professor of water resource management in the NMSU Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences, said the oil and gas industry in West Texas and Southeastern New Mexico produces large amounts of water. “One of the things we found is that the water produced with oil and gas can be up to 10 times the volume of oil and gas,” Carroll said. “It could be one-to-one, and sometimes no water is produced, but sometimes it’s a lot more.” With water shortages in the southeastern part of the state, it’s important that researchers identify alternatives to purchasing fresh water from farmers and to reinjecting produced water into the subsurface as a wastewater. “Southeastern New Mexico is an area that has water shortage issues and a threatened viability of agriculture,” Carroll said. “Although produced water is a wastewater, it is a large source of available water in a region where water scarcity is impacting agriculture.” Sabie said treatment technology is improving and it is becoming more common for the oil and gas industry to reuse its produced water. It behooves the industry to do so, as there are high costs associated with transporting, treating and injecting the water into designated injection wells. By reusing their own produced water, companies are able to use less costly and semi-mobile regulated treatment plants closer to the oil and gas extraction areas. Sabie was the project manager for the feasibility study, and NM WRRI Director Sam Fernald was the principal investigator. NMSU collaborators included Carroll, as well as Pei Xu, an associate professor of environmental engineering in the NMSU Department of Civil Engineering. “I’m interested in the environmental engineering aspects of produced water,” Xu said. “We need to find an engineering solution to solve the problem. Produced water is such an important topic for the industry, engineering, municipalities and regulatory agencies. The goal is to treat the water.” Xu said the feasibility study was made up of a large team, with each person working on a different aspect of the research. “My job was to investigate the treatment technologies and the cost to treat the water,” she said. “This is an ongoing project. Right now I’m working Dr. Yanyan Zhang, and we are evaluating the environmental toxicity of the produced water and the level of treatment needed to reduce the toxicity of that water. Our goal is to ensure the safe reuse of that produced water.” Carroll’s contributions included looking into how the hydrogeologic or geologic formation variability – how deep and which rocks the water comes from – will affect the produced water quality. He also researched the spatial variability of the produced water quality. “We mapped the salinity of the produced water across most of the Permian Basin at various depths,” Carroll said. “We found that not all produced waters are the same. Water in some areas can have salinity as low as approximately 10 grams per liter, but produced water salinity in some areas can be higher than 350 grams per liter. And seawater average salinity is approximately 35 grams per liter.” Carroll took the lead on studying the produced water geochemistry, which is the chemical composition of water in the Permian Basin formations that is being pumped to the surface. “In addition to salinity variations, we found quite a bit of variability in the type of salts dissolved in the waters,” he said. “We also discovered that a significant amount of water migrated deep into the Basin from the land surface, which enhances our understanding of the water flow behavior in deep subsurface basins like the Permian.” More details about the project can be found at https://nmwrri.nmsu.edu/produced-water/ The feasibility study resulted in several accomplishments. “Our biggest accomplishment was establishing a clearer picture on the regulatory framework,” Sabie said. “There are three state agencies in charge of regulating water – the Office of the State Engineer, the New Mexico Environment Department and the Oil Conservation Division. So, we got those agencies together and developed hypothetical use cases for produced water to characterize the ownership, jurisdiction agency for New Mexico, holder of liability, and permitting requirements.” The feasibility study also included researchers from Los Alamos National Laboratory, New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology and New Mexico Energy, Minerals, and Natural Resources Department. Funding was provided by the Environmental Protection Agency through the New Mexico Environment Department.

20th Annual Stormwater Conference

Please save the date for EPA Region 6's 20th Annual Stormwater Conference, to be held in Albuquerque on August 19-23, 2018. This conference is open to all who are interested in stormwater management, including practitioners under EPA's Construction General Permit, Multi Sector General Permit for Industrial Stormwater Discharges, and entities permitted under EPA's Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) permits. The formal Save the Date invitation can be viewed here: http://tamuk-isee.com/conferences/epa2018conference/. Conference information will be updated as the agenda is finalized. For additional questions about the conference, you may contact Nelly Smith with EPA Region 6 at (214) 665-7109 (smith.nelly@epa.gov) or Denise Hornsby with Texas A&M University-Kingsville at (361) 593-3046 (kudh2003@tamuk.edu). Point Source Regulation Section Sarah Holcomb (505) 827-2798

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

State Water Planning Town Hall: Advancing New Mexico’s Water Future

State Water Planning Town Hall: Advancing New Mexico’s Water Future In partnership with the Interstate Stream Commission, New Mexico First will convene a two-day town hall deliberation to inform the update of the New Mexico State Water Plan. This event will bring together people from around the state to generate suggestions for the ISC. The town hall will focus primarily on supply and demand, water quality, infrastructure, legal issues, water planning and collaboration, and changing conditions. 13-DEC-2017 - 14-DEC-2017 Albuquerque More information and registration at: http://nmfirst.org/event-details/state-water-planning-town-hall-advancing-new-mexico-s-water-future

Udall, Heinrich Introduce Legislation to Help Acequias and Land Grants Better Access Federal Conservation Programs

Udall, Heinrich Introduce Legislation to Help Acequias and Land Grants Better Access Federal Conservation Programs WASHINGTON — U.S. Senator Tom Udall introduced a bill to help acequias and land grants in New Mexico access additional federal resources for water and resource conservation projects. The bill, Providing Land Grants and Acequias Conservation and Environmental Services (PLACES) Act of 2017, cosponsored by U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich, will allow acequias and land grants access to federal programs that provide funding and technical assistance to farmers to increase agricultural water efficiency and further conservation of soil, water and other natural resources. Udall and Heinrich have been long been working to help New Mexico's traditional communities access federal programs and funding for water and resource conservation projects. In 2014, the New Mexico delegation included a provision in the Farm Bill to allow irrigation associations, including acequias and land grants, to access Natural Resources Conservation Services’ (NRCS) grants through a partnership with the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP). It has been one of the most successful partnerships in the country, giving New Mexico farmers access to programs that help them implement conservation practices on their farms to conserve water, protect soil and assure that farmers have the tools needed to remain productive in the future. Udall's new bill will build on this success and allow acequias and land grants to apply directly for federal programs, including EQIP, which provides funding and technical assistance to farmers, and the Watershed and Flood Prevention Operations Program, which helps producers by improving off farm infrastructure to reduce soil erosion, enhance water supply and quality, increase wildlife habitat, and reduce damages from natural disasters. "New Mexico's traditional communities have long been good stewards of our land and have been an integral part of our state's water infrastructure since before statehood. These communities hold great historical and cultural significance in New Mexico," Udall said. "Water is critical to our economy and our ability to grow, but water scarcity is a real challenge in New Mexico. Finding solutions that make the most out of every drop — sometimes even twice — is a necessity. Through New Mexico's traditional communities, our ancestors have been managing New Mexico's water and land efficiently for generations, and we should be doing everything we can to support them, including giving them full access to the programs within the USDA. This bill will continue expanding access to federal programs to ensure that acequias and land grants have the tools they need to help New Mexico's farmers and ranchers make the most of every natural resource." “Our way of life in New Mexico depends on the health of our land and water. New Mexico’s acequia associations and land grants should be able to access important federal water and land conservation programs and resources just like any other irrigation districts,” said Heinrich. “I am proud to support this legislation to ensure New Mexico communities have the resources they need to make long-term resource plans on a landscape scale and conserve our vital natural resources for future generations.” The bill text is available here and a summary of the bill is available here. The legislation is supported by the New Mexico Acequia Commission, New Mexico Acequia Association, and the New Mexico Land Grant Council. “Acequias are the life-line of the cultural traditions, heritage and the economic base of New Mexico. Through acequias, our ancestors’ managed our water effectively, efficiently and fairly to provide a sustainable means to take care of their families for centuries," said Ralph Vigil, chairman of the New Mexico Acequia Commission. "This legislation will provide the acequias a much-needed tool to continue building economic sustainability in farming and ranching for our acequia communities.” “We greatly appreciate the work of our congressional delegation to improve acequia eligibility for conservation programs,” said Paula Garcia, executive director of the New Mexico Acequia Association. “Investment in agriculture will expand the availability of locally grown food and support the livelihood of farmers and ranchers in New Mexico’s acequia communities.” “Land grant communities are part of the unique cultural and agricultural heritage of New Mexico. Land grant governing bodies have managed their common lands for the benefit of their local communities for centuries," said Juan Sanchez, chairman of the New Mexico Land Grant Council. "Making community land grants eligible for programs like EQIP provides access to important resources that will further conservation and restoration efforts on land grant common lands, as well as generate new community and economic development opportunities. These activities will positively impact the socio-economic and ecological health of rural communities throughout New Mexico, and will provide lasting benefits for future generations.” ### Contacts: Jennifer Talhelm (Udall) 202.228.6870 / Whitney Potter (Heinrich) 202.228.1578

Monday, November 20, 2017

NMSU researchers join others to address water scarcity issues

LAS CRUCES - Southeastern New Mexico is facing water scarcity issues, and with an increased demand for freshwater, there is a need for alternative water sources in Eddy and Lea counties. Faculty and staff from New Mexico State University and the New Mexico Water Resources Research Institute teamed up with researchers from around the state for a feasibility study on the reuse of produced water last year. Produced water is underground water brought to the surface during the drilling process. Treating of disposing of produced water creates an additional expense for oil companies. One of the most relevant findings from the study is that the most feasible use of produced water generated from the oil and gas industry is for that industry to reuse its own produced water, as opposed to using fresh water. Robert Sabie Jr., a geographic information systems analyst for NM WRRI, said this cost-effective solution would allow freshwater to be reserved for drinking water.

NEW MEXICO ENVIRONMENT DEPARTMENT, SURFACE WATER QUALITY BUREAU PROPOSES THE WITHDRAWAL OF THE TOTAL MAXIMUM DAILY LOADS (TMDL) FOR CHRONIC DISSOLVED ALUMINUM FOR WHITEWATER CREEK, RIO CHAMITA, AND RIO PUERCO

________________________________________ NEW MEXICO ENVIRONMENT DEPARTMENT, SURFACE WATER QUALITY BUREAU PROPOSES THE WITHDRAWAL OF THE TOTAL MAXIMUM DAILY LOADS (TMDL) FOR CHRONIC DISSOLVED ALUMINUM FOR WHITEWATER CREEK, RIO CHAMITA, AND RIO PUERCO. NOTICE OF A 30-DAY PUBLIC COMMENT PERIOD AND COMMUNITY MEETINGS The New Mexico Environment Department (NMED) Surface Water Quality Bureau (SWQB) invites the public to comment on three draft documents concerning the withdrawal of previously-approved Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) documents for chronic dissolved aluminum in Whitewater Creek, Rio Chamita, and Rio Puerco. These requests for TMDL withdrawal are necessary because the dissolved aluminum standard previously codified at 2.6.4.900 NMAC no longer applies. In addition, the latest survey data indicate the applicable total recoverable aluminum standard is supported. The 30-day comment period on these documents will open November 20, 2017 and will close December 22, 2017 at 4:00 p.m. MST. Electronic copies of the draft documents are available at: https://www.env.nm.gov/surface-water-quality/. Comments for inclusion in the administrative record must be submitted in writing (email preferred) to Diana.Aranda@state.nm.us; Diana Aranda, NMED SWQB, P.O. Box 5469, Santa Fe, New Mexico 87502; or fax number (505) 827-0160. For additional questions regarding this public notice or if you have trouble accessing the above web address, contact Ms. Aranda at (505) 827-0669 or at the above email address. Community meetings will be held to summarize the proposed TMDL withdrawals and to provide a discussion forum for the public. The meeting details are: Whitewater Creek: November 29, 2017; 4:30-6:30 p.m.; NMED Silver City Office, 3082 32nd Street Bypass, Suite D, Silver City, New Mexico, 88061. Rio Puerco: December 4, 2017; 3:00-5:00 pm; Cuba Senior Center, 16-A Cordova St., Cuba New Mexico, 87013. Rio Chamita: December 13, 2017; 3:00-5:00 pm; Chama Village Hall, 299 West 4th Street, Chama, New Mexico 87520. Following the close of the comment period, copies of the respective Response to Comments will be sent to all persons who submitted written comments posted to the bureau’s website. The SWQB plans to request approval of the final TMDLs at the Water Quality Control Commission’s (WQCC) regularly scheduled meeting on March 13, 2018, or at the next available meeting. WQCC agendas are available at: https://www.env.nm.gov/water-quality-control-commission/wqcc/. Persons having a disability and needing help in being a part of this process should contact NMED, Human Resources Bureau, at least 10 days before the event, telephone 505-827-0424 or P.O. Box 5469, 1190 St. Francis Drive, Santa Fe, New Mexico, 87502. TDY users please access his number via the New Mexico Relay Network at 1-800-659-8331. ______________________________________________________________________________ LA OFICINA DE CALIDAD DE AGUAS SUPERFICIALES DEL DEPARTAMENTO DEL MEDIO AMBIENTE PROPONE RETIRAR LAS CARGAS MÁXIMAS TOTALES DIARIAS (TMDL, SIGLAS EN INGLÉS) DE ALUMINIO DISUELTO CRÓNICO EN EL ARROYO WHITEWATER, EL RÍO CHAMITA Y EL RÍO PUERCO La Oficina de Calidad de Aguas Superficiales (SWQB, siglas en inglés) del Departamento del Medio Ambiente (NMED, siglas en inglés) invita al público a ofrecer sus comentarios sobre tres documentos preliminares en torno al retiro de documentos relacionados con la Carga Máxima Total Diaria (TMDL) previamente aprobados de aluminio disuelto crónico en el Arroyo Whitewater, el Río Chamita y el Río Puerco. Estas peticiones sobre el retiro de la TMDL son necesarias porque el estándar de aluminio disuelto previamente codificado en el 2.6.4.900 NMAC ya no se aplica. Asimismo, los datos más recientes de la inspección indican que el estándar de aluminio recuperable total aplicable es compatible. El periodo de 30 días para ofrecer comentarios sobre estos documentos se abrirá el 20 de noviembre de 2017 y se cerrará el 22 de diciembre de 2017 a las 4:00 p.m. hora de las montañas (MST). Copias electrónicas de los documentos preliminares están disponibles en: https://www.env.nm.gov/surface-water-quality/. Los comentarios a incluir en el registro administrativo deben ser enviados por escrito (de preferencia por correo electrónico) a Diana.Aranda@state.nm.us; Diana Aranda, NMED SWQB, P.O. Box 5469, Santa Fe, New Mexico 87502; o por fax al (505) 827-0160. Si tiene preguntas adicionales sobre este aviso público o si tiene problemas al tratar de acceder al sitio web arriba mencionado, comuníquese con la Srta. Aranda al (505) 827-0669 o al correo electrónico arriba mencionado. Las reuniones con la comunidad se llevarán a cabo para resumir el retiro propuesto de la TMDL y para proporcionar un foro público para conversar. Los detalles sobre las reuniones son los siguientes: Arroyo Whitewater: 29 de noviembre de 2017; 4:30-6:30 p.m.; NMED Silver City Office, 3082 32nd Street Bypass, Suite D, Silver City, New Mexico, 88061. Río Puerco: 4 de diciembre de 2017; 3:00-5:00 pm; Cuba Senior Center, 16-A Cordova St., Cuba New Mexico, 87013. Río Chamita: 13 de diciembre de 2017; 3:00-5:00 pm; Chama Village Hall, 299 West 4th Street, Chama, New Mexico 87520. Después del cierre del periodo de comentarios, se enviarán copias de las respectivas respuestas de los comentarios a todas las personas que enviaron comentarios escritos que se hayan publicado en el sitio web de la oficina. La SWQB tiene planeado solicitar la aprobación de las TMDL finales en la reunión regular de la Comisión del Control de Calidad del Agua (WQCC, siglas en inglés) programada para el 13 de marzo de 2018, o en la siguiente reunión que se programe. Las agendas de la WQCC están disponibles en: https://www.env.nm.gov/water-quality-control-commission/wqcc/. Las personas que tengan una discapacidad o que necesiten ayuda para tomar parte en este proceso público deberán comunicarse por lo menos 10 días antes del evento con la Oficina de Recursos Humanos de NMED en P.O. Box 5469, 1190 St. Francis Drive, Santa Fe, Nuevo México, 87502, teléfono 505-827-9769. Se les pide a los usuarios de TDY que se comuniquen con la Oficina de Recursos Humanos a través de la Red de Difusión de Nuevo México llamando al 1-800-659-8331. ________________________________________ NMED does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, disability, age or sex in the administration of its programs or activities, as required by applicable laws and regulations. NMED is responsible for coordination of compliance efforts and receipt of inquiries concerning non-discrimination requirements implemented by 40 C.F.R. Part 7, including Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended; Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973; the Age Discrimination Act of 1975, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, and Section 13 of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act Amendments of 1972. If you have any questions about this notice or any of NMED’s non-discrimination programs, policies or procedures, you may contact: Kristine Pintado, Non-Discrimination Coordinator New Mexico Environment Department 1190 St. Francis Dr., Suite N4050 P.O. Box 5469 Santa Fe, NM 87502 (505) 827-2855 nd.coordinator@state.nm.us If you believe that you have been discriminated against with respect to a NMED program or activity, you may contact the Non-Discrimination Coordinator identified above or visit our website at https://www.env.nm.gov/non-employee-discrimination-complaint-page/ to learn how and where to file a complaint of discrimination. El Departamento del Medio Ambiente de Nuevo México (NMED, por su sigla en inglés) no discrimina por motivos de raza, color, origen nacional, discapacidad, edad o sexo en la administración de sus programas o actividades, según lo exigido por las leyes y los reglamentos correspondientes. El NMED es responsable de la coordinación de esfuerzos para el cumplimiento de las reglas y la recepción de indagaciones relativas a los requisitos de no discriminación implementados por 40 C.F.R. Parte 7, que incluye el Título VI de la Ley de Derechos Civiles de 1964, como fuera enmendado; la Sección 504 de la Ley de Rehabilitación de 1973; la Ley de Discriminación por Edad de 1975; el Título IX de las Enmiendas de Educación de 1972; y la Sección 13 de las Enmiendas a la Ley Federal de Control de la Contaminación del Agua de 1972. Si tiene preguntas sobre este aviso o sobre cualquier programa de no discriminación, norma o procedimiento de NMED, puede comunicarse con la Coordinadora de No Discriminación: Kristine Pintado, Non-Discrimination Coordinator New Mexico Environment Department 1190 St. Francis Dr., Suite N4050 P.O. Box 5469 Santa Fe, NM 87502 (505) 827-2855 nd.coordinator@state.nm.us Si piensa que ha sido discriminado con respecto a un programa o actividad de NMED, puede comunicarse con la Coordinadora de No Discriminación antes indicada o visitar nuestro sitio web en https://www.env.nm.gov/NMED/EJ/index.html para saber cómo y dónde presentar una queja por discriminación.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Registration opens for the State Water Planning Town Hall: Advancing New Mexico’s Water Future

Are you interested in New Mexico’s water future? Sign up today for a two-day deliberative town hall to inform the next State Water Plan! This document is the primary policy guide for New Mexico’s water policy. As part of public engagement on the update of the plan, the upcoming town hall will be held December 13-14 in Albuquerque. Participants will engage in discussions on water issues and offer suggestions advising the Interstate Stream of significant changed conditions facing New Mexico’s water future. Registration opens for the State Water Planning Town Hall: Advancing New Mexico’s Water Future Are you interested in New Mexico’s water future? Sign up now for a two-day deliberative town hall to discuss a comprehensive update of the New Mexico State Water Plan. The State Water Plan is a critical guide for New Mexico’s water policy. The ideas offered through this town hall will advise the Interstate Stream Commission (in collaboration with the Office of the State Engineer and the Water Trust Board) of significant changed conditions facing New Mexico’s water future. Sponsored by the ISC and managed by New Mexico First, the town hall will focus primarily on supply and demand, water quality, infrastructure, legal issues, water planning and collaboration, and changing conditions. Sign-up today!