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  • Recycling Wastewater from Oil And Gas Wells Poses Challenges
    run the risk of trading one environmental problem for a host of new ones Water Management vs Conservation Depending on the local geology the process of hydraulic fracturing can use up to 15 million gallons of water in a matter of days the same amount of water used per day by 50 000 American households Operators add many chemicals to this fluid to make the process more productive Once injected deep underground into the well naturally salty water trapped inside the rock mixes with the chemical laced fluid and then much of this mixture flows back to the surface Recent studies indicate that approximately 70 percent of 400 examined cases of groundwater contamination from oil and gas operations were caused by surface releases accidents that happened once the wastewater returned to the surface essentially spills Increasing reuse and recycling threatens to exacerbate this problem because these processes require increased management and handling of contaminated water at the surface A recent Associated Press report highlighted some troublesome numbers It reported that more than 180 million gallons of oil and gas wastewater spilled from 2009 to 2014 and the source of the spills included ruptured pipes overflowing storage tanks and deliberate dumping The report also noted many spills go unreported meaning actual volumes are surely higher And the oily content of the wastewater is not the only problem that must be addressed when a spill occurs The high salt content of the wastewater is more difficult to clean up and can damage habitat and cropland for decades afterward More Storage More Transportation More opportunity for recycling mishaps Wastewater has to be stored in pits and tanks at well sites and central storage facilities and with recycling it is happening a lot more and for a whole lot longer That s because the opportunities to reuse the wastewater often don t occur immediately Storage alone doesn t mean wastewater will spill and cause contamination but the more drilling companies hold on to this wastewater the higher risks for spills Further recycling operations also significantly increase transportation requirements since the wastewater must be moved from where itis generated to treatment facilities to interim storage to points of use Whether the wastewater is moved by truck pipeline rail etc increased transportation also means more opportunity for accidents and spills To avoid this we need stronger requirements to make sure that tanks open pits and pipelines are properly engineered constructed and managed and other water management operations are conducted to minimize spills It is also important to rapidly identify and cleanup spills when they do occur These sorts of requirements have existed for other industry sectors that manage toxic materials for decades Treatment Challenges Wastewater treatment is another possible pollution vector Oil and gas wastewater contains a varied mixture of salt and suspended solids in high concentrations metals including arsenic and barium organics like hydrocarbon compounds and potentially naturally occurring radioactive material Important to determining the risks of all constituents is their toxicity how they move

    Original URL path: http://www.wateronline.com/doc/recycling-wastewater-from-oil-and-gas-wells-poses-challenges-0001 (2016-02-14)
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  • 3 Solutions To Water-Intensive Fracking
    adds that fracking and related water needs are still growing a GAO study from September 2012 revealed a five fold increase in activity from 2007 to 2011 and the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission through a May 2014 study projected a 35 percent increase in annual water demand for Colorado s fracking between 2010 and 2015 To put real numbers to the water use yet another GAO cited report estimates that each well consumes between 2 and 9 million gallons with the high fluctuation due to differing shale geology and fracking processes But how about processes that use little to no water Here are three to consider Liquefied Petroleum Gas LPG Fracturing In conventional hydraulic fracturing fracking fluid is injected into a well at high pressure to pierce the shale and release the oil or gas Mostly comprised of water fracking fluid also contains proppants typically sand or man made materials designed to hold the hydraulic fracture open to facilitate oil gas recovery LPG fracturing essentially replaces the water in the fracking fluid with traditionally nitrogen or carbon dioxide CO2 and more recently with a mixture of propane and chemical additives This gas based process has advantages over water for certain shale formations those that exhibit low permeability and require low pressure fracturing Water based fracking inhibits flow out of the wellbore whereas gas based LPG fracking with its lower viscosity and density promotes flow out of the formation plus there is no need to recover and treat injected water The technique has been proven more efficient than water based fracking with certain plays in Canada and Texas but it also has drawbacks LPG based fracturing is limited to specific shale formations and even then there are concerns over its relatively short track record as well as safety and cost propane is both flammable and expensive For the right application however and especially when infrastructure that allows the propane to be captured and reused is in place LPG can increase oil and gas production while saving water Foam Based Fracturing In foam based fracturing the fracking fluid is composed of a small amount of water a foaming agent and nitrogen or CO2 Again the technique was designed to overcome specific obstacles to efficient shale gas production in this case low pressure water scarce formations where reservoir pressure is too low to drive water and gas out of the well Cited in the GAO report the National Energy Technology Laboratory NETL found the technique when used by the Department of Energy DOE to stimulate Devonian Shale wells in the eastern U S during the 1970s reduced water usage by 75 to 90 percent versus slickwater conventional fracking Unfortunately for the fate of process and water conservation the success could not be duplicated when applied to formations that typically require high pressure and high volumes of water When Mitchell Energy pitted foam based fracturing against slickwater fracking at the Barnett Shale in Texas the latter recovered as much or more gas

    Original URL path: http://www.wateronline.com/doc/solutions-to-water-intensive-fracking-0001 (2016-02-14)
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  • EPAs Water Report A Good But Incomplete Start
    from the truth EPA s draft report acknowledged in several places that available data on the impact of oil and gas operations on water resources was severely lacking The limited scope the large number of unknowns and the inadequate data were then used to characterize national impacts leading to the no widespread systemic impacts conclusion simply because confirmed impacts were small compared to the nationwide number of wells That s dangerous math that added up to misinterpretation and confusion following the report s release Just because something isn t happening everywhere doesn t mean it can t happen anywhere In fact it s this latter story that EPA s report illuminates quite well Documented in numerous places in the nearly 1 000 page report are multiple accounts of local impacts and incidences of water contamination EDF has concluded a thorough review of the report and submitted comments to EPA s Science and Advisory Board We asked EPA to simply communicate more clearly dig deeper get better data and keep researching This draft report is a good first step but much more is needed EPA s report should communicate the overall findings of the study more clearly For example the report s press release indicates that the assessment shows that activities have not led to widespread systemic impacts Yet the executive summary concludes the agency did not find evidence of impacts These conclusions are inconsistent and mean different things How EPA s explains its scope and findings must be improved to better reflect the realities of the full analysis and provide clarity to the public EPA s report should dig deeper to more thoroughly answer questions presented in the final study plan Key elements of the well injection chapter are completely absent leaving important questions unanswered about subsurface fluid movement and interactions EPA s report could have relied on better data For example the EPA report relied heavily on data from an early version of FracFocus the national tool for reporting chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing Since EPA s review FracFocus 3 0 has launched with new data representing a more current picture of chemicals in use today EPA should keep researching The number of unknowns and data gaps that inhibit full and accurate conclusions is significant Further EPA s assessment was limited in scope leaving out important activities in the oil and gas production and supply chain that create significant risks to drinking water Perhaps most importantly EPA s assessment was merely a snap shot in time It s vital that EPA monitor future changes in industry practices in order to know when the time has come to again review these issues EPA can t walk away now Clearly more work needs to be done There are ways to reduce and minimize risks of oil and gas production but they require a full understanding of what those risks are EPA s report has provided only a partial understanding Through a process of continual improvement industry and governments can fill data

    Original URL path: http://www.wateronline.com/doc/epa-s-water-report-a-good-but-incomplete-start-0001 (2016-02-14)
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  • SIWI Water Management Key Priority For International Oil And Gas Sector
    been developed to assist in identifying areas of water risks and how to develop strategies and solutions to mitigate these risks Water resource management tools Organizations such as World Resources Institute WRI provide significant data to better inform corporate decision makers to understand the broader contexts of water stewardship and water resource management Some of the tools gaining traction in the oil and gas sector include those that allow companies to track their global water consumption and to improve their decision making processes for more positive outcomes including social and environmental factors One tool which was singled out for discussion was the Integrated Biodiversity Assessment Tool IBAT IBAT was developed by Conservation International in collaboration with Chevron and is a decision support and environmental reporting tool for screening biodiversity risks including protected areas on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species Tool designers continue to add further capabilities to IBAT to assist companies in considering water and broader environmental issues within their business practices Some of the other tools mentioned include the Alliance for Water Stewardship Water Action Hub from the UN Compact s CEO Water Mandate and the Water Sanitation and Hygiene WASH and Freshwater Conservation Guidelines Additionally the extensive mapping tool Water Risk Filter which was developed by World Wildlife Fund and KFW DE allows companies to secure rapid response initial assessments as well as whole facility and commodity portfolio assessments to link risk assessment with mitigation measures KPMG has also developed in working with World Wildlife Fund a methodology which allows a company to identify and financially quantify its social and environmental activities and risks and how these can be integrated in assessing the True Value of a corporation for both management and shareholders The IPIECA also advocated adapting successful performance based measurement models to the oil and gas industry to enable companies and the industry as a whole to aspire to 100 percent site implementation Such a model might include adapting the Water Accounting Framework from the mining industry to the oil and gas sector This standard was designed in recognition of the vital role of water in mining both as an asset that produces value and as a shared natural resource that requires responsible stewardship It allows sites to account for report on and compare site water management practices in a rigorous consistent and unambiguous manner that can easily be understood by non experts This approach was reflected as well throughout the conference Community engagement Another shift which was consistent with other sessions throughout World Water Week was the observation made by panelists of how projects are being developed This shift has moved away from companies exclusively considering financing and operations as the starting point for a project to project pre planning which begins with early stage engagement of local communities Such trends reflect the growing awareness of companies not only for the need to secure a social license to operate but also how it must behave as key members of the community in order

    Original URL path: http://www.wateronline.com/doc/siwi-water-management-key-priority-for-international-oil-and-gas-sector-0001 (2016-02-14)
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  • Hydraulic Fracturing and the EPA Water Study Where Do We Go from Here
    numerous times throughout EPA highlighted caveat upon caveat and uncertainty upon uncertainty recognizing its limited ability to fully assess potential impacts to drinking water such as Future cumulative water use and local impacts Types and volumes of chemicals spilled spill causes containment and mitigation measures and sources of spills Whether fluids and gas move in unintended ways below ground Evaluation of the design and performance of individual wells or wells in a region particularly in the context of local geology or presence of other wells The ability to tie possible impacts to specific well construction operation or maintenance practices Total number of spills released volumes and associated concentrations National picture of wastewater generation and management practices Analysis of influent and effluent from facilities that treat wastewater Toxicity and potential impacts for single chemicals as well as mixtures of chemicals Furthermore a number of potential areas of impact were simply beyond the scope of EPA s review Aspects of the environment other than the water cycle seismicity air quality ecosystems Site selection well pad and infrastructure development like roads and pipelines Well closure and site reclamation Impacts on other water users like farmers Worker health and safety Transportation related spills drilling mud spills spills that occur off site such as during transportation or storage of chemicals in staging areas and spills associated with wastewater disposal in underground injection control wells With this many unknowns it s simply impossible to make any definitive conclusions about the hydraulic fracturing activities reviewed by EPA other than we need to know more Above all else EPA s report is a clarion call for more research while also using what we know now about vulnerabilities to spur improvements in regulations and industry practices Instead of trying to reach consensus or draw conclusions from an incomplete assessment we need to start talking about how we can fill some of these gaps minimize risks and address vulnerabilities Addressing Major Vulnerabilities EPA highlighted key vulnerabilities to water sources so industry regulators and the public can better understand and address them EDF is also independently engaged to advance this work our strategy overlaps with a number of EPA s indicated areas of vulnerability including well integrity spills and wastewater Well Failure As we have long known EPA concluded that poorly designed or constructed wells can allow fluids and gasses to move out of wellbores and impact water resources With smart polices that require careful planning constructing testing and monitoring of wells these failures can be minimized if not eliminated For example Texas updated requirements for drilling casing cementing and fracture stimulation in 2013 incorporating new technology and leading practices In the year after the rule became effective blowout incidents were cut 40 percent proving that smart policies can directly reduce risks to water sources as well as to worker safety It s why EDF is working to get more states to adopt similar progressive policies Spills In addition to well integrity failures a large majority of ground and surface water

    Original URL path: http://www.wateronline.com/doc/hydraulic-fracturing-and-the-epa-water-study-where-do-we-go-from-here-0001 (2016-02-14)
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  • Can Your Pipe Survive An Earthquake
    Scarcity Water Reuse Regulations and Legislation Providers YSI a Xylem brand Hach Company Schneider Electric Neptune Technology Group Inc Evoqua Water Technologies Veolia Water Solutions Technologies ABB Measurement Products Aclara Jacobi Carbons Endress Hauser Inc KROHNE Inc Kaeser Compressors Inc Emerson Process Management Rosemount Analytical Degremont Technologies Brentwood Industries View All Providers Podcast June 22 2015 Can Your Pipe Survive An Earthquake Contact The Supplier American Cast Iron Pipe Company has been around for 110 years but the company isn t resting on its laurels Instead AMERICAN is diversifying and innovating its product line The latest offering as explained to Water Online Radio by Maury Gaston is the AMERICAN Earthquake Joint system We ve adapted our strong and time proven flex ring joint into a new and innovative joint assembly designed and tested to withstand the tremendous loads experienced during a seismic event We did this by adapting the conventional flex ring bell with an extended bell providing 2 4 inches longitudinal expansion or contraction a total of 4 8 inches overall length differential In addition to that longitudinal performance the extended bell provides three degrees of rotation or deflection The casting is pre assembled prior to shipment to our conventional flex ring with five degrees deflection The earthquake assembly has eight degrees deflection and 2 4 inches more than one percent of joint length expansion or contraction capacity Dead end thrust resistance for earthquake environments ranges from more than 100 000 pounds in the 6 size to more than 200 000 pounds in the 12 size In addition to the earthquake proof joint Gaston discusses a product range that expands beyond ductile iron pipe and joints to also include spiral welded steel pipe gate valves and check valves and even fire hydrants Hear the whole interview below iframe src

    Original URL path: http://www.wateronline.com/doc/can-your-pipe-survive-an-earthquake-0001 (2016-02-14)
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  • The Future Of Fracking Evaluating Emerging Technologies
    energy companies environmental organizations and philanthropic foundations formed in 2013 claims that its members will follow voluntary standards that are more rigorous than state laws including 90 percent recycle rates of produced water Recycling wastewater from fracking has traditionally utilized treatment methods such as reverse osmosis electrocoagulation distillation ultraviolet UV disinfection dissolved gas flotation ozonation ion exchange and evaporation While there is seemingly a solution to treat and reuse just about any form of contaminated water the challenge is developing solutions that are cost competitive when compared to trucking and disposal A key limiting factor in traditional purification processes is the amount of energy required However many new technologies are emerging which offer the potential for cost effective treatment by utilizing technologies that require far less energy or utilize waste energy to reduce costs and treat contaminated water more efficiently See below for a number of companies that are utilizing innovative technologies to solve this ever increasing problem Altela Inc offers a pressure less mobile or stationary thermal distillation water treatment system which mimics nature s hydrologic cycle of making pure rain water from seawater Through the company s proprietary technology named AltelaRain produced water is placed into plastic containers or small towers where it is heated to create vapor The vapor floats up until it hits cool air at the top of the tower It then condenses into fresh water that trickles down to tanks below leaving a small amount of leftover sludge for disposal By removing the need for pressure used in most other desalination processes like reverse osmosis Altela s technology does not require expensive pumps valves or costly amounts of electricity or man made chemicals Additionally the heat used to start the treatment process is recaptured for further use as vapor condenses releasing trapped heat which contributes even more toward reducing energy costs Armada Water Assets Inc has designed a modular treatment train system combining a number of traditional treatment technologies and conventional components such as oil water separators aeration electrocoagulation precipitation reverse osmosis units and ceramic and carbon filter systems with a proprietary high shear reactor which acts as a molecular accelerator This high shear reactor dynamically accelerates the natural vibration and spin of molecules in the process stream This decreases the energetic barriers to the separation of solvents from wastewater reducing energy consumption and operating expenses involved with the treatment of produced water Armada s treatment trains can be used as mobile temporary or permanent solutions and can be economically scaled and configured to meet specific local needs Ecologix Environmental Systems provides a mobile Integrated Treatment System ITS utilizing Dissolved Air Flotation DAF a long proven method for separating solids from waste streams In the DAF process targeted chemicals are used to precipitate oils and solids out of suspension and then a physical mechanism removes those solids from the water The ITS consists of three primary components one to control chemical application another to mix the chemicals into the water and a third to

    Original URL path: http://www.wateronline.com/doc/the-future-of-fracking-evaluating-emerging-technologies-0001 (2016-02-14)
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  • The Big Fracking Question Is Drinking Water At Risk
    in stream sediments downstream of the disposal sites 5 The radiation poses environmental and health risks Insufficient treatment and unauthorized discharge of untreated water from shale gas operations This was revealed by joint U S Geological Survey USGS and U S Fish and Wildlife Service FWS studies as in the case of Acorn Fork Creek in southern Kentucky in May and June 2007 which linked the deaths of aquatic species to the disposal of untreated wastewater10 It was also observed that effluent discharges from treatment sites in Pavillion WY were known for their high salinity levels 120 000 mg L high toxic metals strontium and barium and radioactive elements radium isotopes and organic makeup benzene and toluene 11 Figure 1 presents the hydraulic fracturing water cycle and the potential source water issues Potential Threat To Surface Water Sources Surface water contamination from hydraulic fracturing fluid may occur during treatment storage or disposal processes when there are accidental spills leakages or leaching into the nearby surface water 1 Hydraulic fracturing wastewater also poses a threat to surface water because it contains other chemicals metals dissolved solids organics and nucleotides other than the fracking additives that could overflow spill or leach into the groundwater and contaminate nearby rivers or streams 1 When they are treated the total dissolved solids TDS remain high and the remaining salts are used as road salts which enter surface waters Potential Threat To Groundwater Sources The anticipated groundwater contamination mechanism is related to flow back waters and hydraulic fracturing fluids which could lead to upward leakage of natural gas along well casings or natural fractures that allow entry of gas into fresh water aquifers or into the atmosphere 3 Further studies are needed to verify this claim In addition the natural geochemical processes allow the gas to be assimilated by the fresh water aquifer which reacts and may liberate natural contaminants such as metals and hydrogen sulfide leading to degradation in water quality 4 This claim has not been substantiated as there have not been any baseline monitoring and assessment of the assimilation capacity in potential shale gas regions to ascertain the release of these contaminants4 Other proposed possible mechanisms include Oxidation of fugitive methane through sulfate reducing bacteria This initiates the reductive dissolution of oxides in the aquifer which may mobilize redoxsensitive elements manganese iron or arsenic and reduce the quality of groundwater 3 High concentration of halogens in saline waters could lead to the formation of toxic trihalomethanes THM though there is no data related to stray gas contamination from shale gas wells 3 There is evidence of cases of naturally occurring saline groundwater in areas of shale gas development in the Appalachian Basin which makes the quantification of contamination from antropogenic sources of groundwater pollution difficult 3 Figure 2 The hydraulic fracturing process adapted from EPA 2011 2 Possible Solutions Previous studies show that stray gas contamination happens within less than 1 km 3 281 ft 12 13 of the well site Based on

    Original URL path: http://www.wateronline.com/doc/the-big-fracking-question-is-drinking-water-at-risk-0001 (2016-02-14)
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