In the oilfield and manufacturing business, you often hear people talk about by-product water as “wastewater.” Really? We don’t think that’s accurate. If you ask a plumber, he’ll have a pretty clear definition of “wastewater” for you. And even THAT water is treated and eventually put back to good use.
Water that is a by-product of industry, like oil wells, is NOT wastewater. In fact, no water should be considered a waste because it’s too precious of a resource.
So, why don’t we call things what they are?
The water from the oil well that comes up with the crude oil is NOT waste. It’s not even “produced” water, because you didn’t set out to drill for water – you were aiming for oil. So, let’s call it what it is, by-product water.
Why does it matter what we call it? Because if it’s wastewater, we want to get rid of it right away. Just ask a plumber who answers a 2 a.m. service call.
But if it’s by-product water, why don’t we clean it up and use it for conservation or ag? Heck, we could even turn an arid land into a grassland, grow something useful, get rid of carbon dioxide, and make sure the aquifers aren’t being drained for things this cleaned up by-product water can do.
So, let’s call it what it can become – clean water that’s precious.