A group of scientists and businessmen from across North America has found a way to take the waste created from pumping oil and turn it into usable water.
There are thousands upon thousands of old rigs like the ones south of Clyde Lake that businessmen like Chris Tesarski have taken and turned back on.
In addition to this modern day oil boom, Tesarski, along with a team of scientists/businessmen have taken on a new endeavor.
On a lease like the one in Clyde, they can get about five barrels per day of production. But for every five barrels of oil collected a day, there's around 200 barrels of waste collected.
Some of that waste is turned right back around and put into the ground to flush out more oil.
"We're putting a lot of bad stuff back down into our formation," said CEO of Sandbox Energy Corporation Chris Tesarski.
Sometimes they do send off the waste, but that's not very cost effective, so Tesarski has found a way to turn that waste into water.
"I think it's become abundantly clear, especially over the last couple of months, just how desperate the water situation is here in West Texas."
Tesarski and his company are based out of Canada and now, also in Abilene. Together with another company from Canada called ERIN Consulting and a New Mexico based company called New Water, Tesarski has formed a partnership called Texas Sans Resource Partnership.
The team of scientists take the formation water from about 1100 feet below the surface and strip the oil for its own use. This leaves nothing but waste.
They then take that wastewater under a nano-polymer process to strip out the solids creating a pure salt water that is about 2 to 3 times the salinity of sea water. They de-salinify that to fresh potable water.
It's a long process and a complicated science, but it's the outcome of that process that makes it worth while for them.
Tesarski explained, "We're taking that out and we're allowing an opportunity for communities or ranchers wherever we are to use those fresh water resources for whatever it is that people need to use fresh water for. It just so happens we can also drink it right out of the tap."
And drink it they did, changing the way we might look at an oil lease right here in Texas.
"This really can be a game changer, in terms of dealing with produced water from the oil field and other water that has oil and solid problems," said VP of ERIN Consulting, Dr. Ian Ireland.
Dr. Ireland and his group removes all of the solids from the waste. When they're done with the nano-polymer process, bringing the solids out of the solution, the waste is broken down to clean, salt water.
This is where the owner of New Water, or Nu-H20, Dr. Paul Fairchild comes in to play.
Dr. Fairchild takes the water to de-salinify it by a process of forward osmosis through a membrane, which removes all of the salt.
"We're creating water that can be used as a resource," Dr. Fairchild said. "That to me is the whole reason we all wanted to be in this business."
Not sure how it plays into the real industry? Just ask someone that sees this stuff day to day operating his own oil rigs.
"Especially since the drought conditions that we had, it's really gonna clean up the water, saves our wells and we can also use it as surface water as well," commented Terry Wolfer. "So I think it's a good deal."
The partnership hopes to set a prototype model for how to run an oil lease in West Texas which will incorporate clean water for either stimulation of getting oil out of the ground, or agricultural use.