First merchant facility to treat water opens in California

In Wasco, California, the United States of America (USA), and surrounded by numerous active oil fields in the Bakersfield area, the very first merchant facility operated and maintained by Sweetwater Tech Resources (STR) to treat water produced by oil and gas for reuse and consumption has opened. Using Water Planet’s IntelliFlux®, this treatment plant offers the opportunity to convert the billions of litres of water created when producing oil and gas in an economic, reliable and sustainable way, and releasing the treated water into streams and waterways for reuse.

And the produced water being treated for reuse in a cost-effective method is not the only benefit; there are notable environmental boons as well. The amount of discarded water has been lowered, and the treated water can be reused to help meet demand.

Originally begun in January under a temporary operating permit, the plant is only able to treat around 25,000 gallons (94,600 litres) of water a day until the final permit has been approved, at which point, the amount will quickly rise to 420,000 gallons (1.6 million litres). Sweetwater plans to operate and maintain numerous facilities in the Bakersfield area in order to treat up to 4 million gallons (15 million litres) of water a day.

IntelliFlux®, Water Planet’s ground-breaking self-adaptive, artificial intelligence-based flux optimisation control software, will be used, as it is the optimal solution to the varying water qualities coming for multiple oil and gas enterprises from varying geographical locations. The quality of water has always differed so greatly in terms of concentrations of dissolved hydrocarbons, minerals, oil, salts, and suspended solids, up until the present time, the only way to get rid of it is by hazardous waste management by means of using surface impoundments, or deep well injection. IntelliFlux® gives the option of treating these profoundly disparate waters in an affordable and reliable manner.

Before the project was initiated, Sweetwater and Water Planet first proved the facility’s capability in early 2016 to the local oil producers and governmental authorities to guarantee all participating parties of the quality of the treated water.

“This facility is just the first step in providing a new, more sustainable solution for produced water management. Why waste a valuable water resource by injecting it deep in the earth where it is lost forever? Water reuse is the future, and this installation can [serve] as a model to be replicated in other water-stressed oil and gas producing regions around the world,” Eric Hock, CEO of Water Planet, said in an interview with WaterWorld.

“Deep well injection disposal of produced water is going to be a thing of the past,” President of Sweetwater Tech Resources, Dundee Kelbel said, while indicating that the bodies of water used for the dumping of produced are coming under closer analysis and scrutiny. “This facility will process nearly half a million gallons of water per day. It’s a drop in the bucket for the California oil and gas industry, but this project gives us a stepping stone to build upon towards future water sustainability.”

Water Planet had created a unique system for this project made up of a multidisciplinary train devised to eliminate contaminants of concern including dissolved organics, free oil and grease, suspended solids, and salts and minerals, like boron.

“The key is our AI-based IntelliFlux controls; most of the system consists of off-the-shelf softening, filtration and desalination technologies. However, the uniqueness is that this system can reliably accept a wide range of influent water qualities while producing a consisted effluent water quality and at a cost that makes sense,” Hoek added.

When oil and gas are reaped, the water that comes out of the ground along with them is produced water, and the amount of water drawn up often dwarfs the hydrocarbons in comparison. 

Source: WaterWorld