5 Common Mistakes Handling Produced Water

Frac Water Recycling: Common Mistakes Handling Produced Water

Produced water is a byproduct of oil and gas production, which contains various impurities and pollutants that need to be treated before it can be discharged or reused. Mishandling produced water can lead to severe environmental consequences, including water pollution, soil contamination, and harm to aquatic life. Therefore, it is crucial to handle produced water with utmost care and attention.

Produced water comes from the process of fracking in oil and gas production. Produced water is naturally occurring and comes out of the ground (along with oil and gas) in the fracking process. Produced water contains pollutants that require treatment before it can be reused. Mishandling produced water can lead to significant environmental occurrences, such as water pollution and soil contamination.

It’s the responsibility of the O&G company to handle produced water safely – and it is often easier said than done! Companies run into issues with sampling and monitoring produced water at a given frack pad, perform inadequate treatments, don’t store or dispose produced water properly, and have human-resource related issues such as insufficient safety training.

Insufficient Sampling and Monitoring

Not all produced water is the same! As a matter of fact, characteristics of produced water can vary from one frack pad to the next. Thus, operators conduct regular sampling and monitoring of the produced water to identify any changes within the composition. There are compliance rules related to regular sampling, which lead to environmental damage and regulatory fines if not conducted properly.

Inadequate Frac Water Treatment

Effective treatment is needed to remove the pollutants, contaminants, and impurities in produced water: metals, grease, and oil. As mentioned earlier with sampling, the components composition of the produced water may vary – thus treatment options with chemicals may vary in the type of chemical used, the PPM concentration, or the overall volume of chemical used to treat the produced water. Mistakes are made by not understanding the proper treatment chemical quantities needed.

Improper Storage and Disposal

This is the big one for environmental purposes: spills and leaks! Produced water contaminates soil and groundwater, and hefty fines are placed upon companies who are found to be at fault for environmental contamination. Its essential that the storage tanks and ponds are designed and maintained to avoid any environmental leakage.

Lack of Employee Training and Awareness

If the operator is not adequately trained with the knowledge and resources to handle produced water, mistakes should not catch the company be surprise. The O&G field is dangerous, with heavy and pressurized equipment, contaminated produced water, and hazardous chemicals. Operator training in handling procedures around produced water are crucial.

Inadequate Record-Keeping

Regulatory compliance to demonstrate due diligence requires proper accounting for produced water. Detailed accounts on tracking and monitoring gives the information to validate O&G company compliance, including sampling & monitoring, treatment, storage, and disposal.

As O&G companies improve on mitigating these 5 mistakes, the process of handling produced water will be safer for employees, the company, and the environment.

PureLine is the expert in chlorine dioxide solutions and has multiple teams active in southern United States treating water for both recycle and disinfection in the O&G space. If you would like to discuss chlorine dioxide or PureLine’s services for O&G companies, fill out the contact form below and a representative would be glad to discuss our services!

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