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WASHINGTON, D. C., July 16, 2004 — U.S. Senator Pete Domenici today welcomed news that New Mexico Tech in Socorro has been awarded over $1.1 million through the DOE’s Fossil Energy Oil Program to develop a new method that treats brackish water produced by oil and gas exploration that could contaminate clean water systems.

“In the search for more domestic oil and natural gas, water infused with high concentrations of salt can be released into fresh groundwater systems. This possibility impedes the ability to seek more deposits of domestic energy supplies and endangers our soil and water,” Domenici said.

“The research headed by New Mexico Tech will work toward resolving this issue by developing a reverse osmosis system that treats brack water and facilitates gas and oil exploration,” he said.

Domenici serves on the Senate Interior Appropriations Subcommittee that sets funding levels for the DOE Fossil Energy Program. Within the FY2005 Senate Interior Appropriations Bill, the program was funded at $31.1 million for oil technologies.

Typically, the water produced from coal-bed methane and oilfields is disposed of using costly deep-well injections that place a financial burden on communities. In addition, areas with significant fossil fuel resources are typically those with a shortage of freshwater. The three-year project, Treating Coal-Bed Methane Produced Water for Beneficial Use by MFI Zeolite Membranes, aims to alleviate both of these concerns by using reverse osmosis to retrieve clean water and minimize the volume of wastewater for disposal.

New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology is an undergraduate and graduate university specializing in science and engineering education and research. Tech divisions and departments include world-class research programs providing unique student opportunities.

New Mexico Tech was originally founded in 1889 as the New Mexico School of Mines. Over the years, our mission has expanded, and we are now an outstanding research university, specializing in areas of science, engineering, and related fields.


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