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Sustainability in Oil & Gas Production, Exploration: On Site Wastewater Treatment in Fracking

Water and wastewater management is an important step in oil and gas production and exploration – particularly in fracking, where water is used as a key part of the process. It is essential to increase sustainability wherever possible, and on-site wastewater treatment in fracking is set to become essential to the practice of fracking.

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The technology of treating wastewater on site while fracking eliminates the requirement for transporting water, which in turn eliminates the cost of transport.

In frack water disposal, the current typical practice involves disposing of wastewater that flows back out of a well; in 2012, this amounted to 730 billion gallons of water removed from the water cycle. Reasons cited for continuing this practice include cost, convenience, and roadblocks.

Another option is to send the water to a wastewater treatment plant that deals with sewage and water from other industrial sources, but many plants are simply not able to handle frack water’s high level of contaminants and water flowing out of the plants still has elevated levels of the chemicals from natural gas production.

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There are several companies spearheading the issue of treating this wastewater by introducing new technologies to take care of it on site, enabling the reuse of water in future fracking projects. In some cases, it is possible to both recover usable water for reuse while also concentrating the chemicals and other impurities for recycling or safe disposal.

Fracking water is notoriously difficult to treat; however, because it is of utmost importance to the environment and because laws are becoming stricter, ensuring companies treat their fracking water, more and more technologies are emerging as potential solutions to this issue.

While treating frack water on site is still in the exploratory stage, this is certainly an area to watch.

 

TNphoto Tatsuya Nakagawa
Tatsuya Nakagawa is the VP of Marketing and co-founder of Castagra Products, a storage tank and wastewater coatings manufacturing company that is highly acclaimed for its cold weather tank coating applications and its durable frac tank coatings. Castagra is used by the world’s top oil and gas field services companies.