Water Treatment Process

Marcellus Shale Project


Reliable One’s system and its construction has been designed on the premise that there will be two phases of construction.  The first phase is designed to treat 10,000 Barrels Per Day (BPD), with a second phase of an additional 10,000 added shortly after phase one has been started and the operators trained.

The system design uses existing technology, which has been used in the oil and gas venue for many years.  However, to the best of ROR’s knowledge, these processes have never been coupled together to produce revenue streams that will either recover the cost of treatment, produce by-produces to market, and minimize the long-term liability by converting the Naturally Occurring Radioactive Materials (NORMS) or other products to a state that they are inert.

Transport companies, which will bring produced and flowback waters to the site, will be sampled initially to identify the appropriate storage tank the water needs to be directed to for disposal or recovery.  Not all waters will go through every phase of the treatment system.  Some of these fluids will contain materials which will inhibit the recovery, contaminate products or just interfere with the treatment scheme or process.  These fluids will be treated to meet the discharge standards for disposal with little or no recovery of products.

As shown on the Flow Diagram below, there will be eight truck unloading stations.  Each station will have three or four offloading connections which directs the waters to the appropriate 10,000-barrel tank.  The gold line in the flow charts illustrates the movement of the waters through the various treatment processes.  Based on the analysis of the truck waters, a blending scheme from each tank will be derived and controlled by the main process operator.  This will provide a smoother flow, more even chemical injection, and consistent products being produced.

The water will first go through primary filtration to remove any suspended solids that are 25 microns or larger.  The flow will then be pumped through the secondary filters to remove suspended solids 5 or 10 microns in size.  In the same building the water will go through what is called an Optipore system, which will remove any soluble organs, like Benzene, Toluene, Xylene and Ethylbenzene and or gas condensates, which may be dissolved in the water.  There is some insoluble oils and greases which will come in and as they have low levels of concentration they can be removed in the Optipore unit.  Steam is used to regenerate these resins and recover these products to generate a revenue and make sure that no organics move to the next level of the treatment system.

The Optipore resin is designed by Dow and has been in operation for decades.  Dr. Bob Goltz who was one of the developers of the Optipore resin at Dow, was used to design the system for ROR, as a consultant.  There is a potential that waters from oil fields could come to the site in the future.  If that does occur, a coalescent filter will need to be installed prior to the Optipore unit, and this unit will remove free oils, and provide an additional revenue stream.  Dr. Goltz designed this system also.

As the water moves through the Optipore unit, it will be directed to the metal chloride capture system.  The metal chloride capture system is an absorption system, which uses media that absorbs the metal chloride, selectively, and stores it for future capture, off site.  The process of absorption is well known throughout the mining industry and is used widely.  In the mining industry the metals are generally in a form of a metal cyanide, which is not a volatile substance or one that can be burned off in the recovery process.  In the metal chloride process, these metals are very volatile and if not properly treated, most of the metals will be lost by burning them off.

The process which the media goes through, after it leaves the ROR facility, is covered under a secrecy agreement.  A member of the ROR staff has developed this process and hold that as a secret process to his own right.  Having worked in the mining industry for 35 years and holds seven patents in metal extraction, his experience provides the recovery of these metal chlorides, and adds to the revenues being generated.

At the end of the metal chloride capture system, the water will be pumped to the pellet reactors.  These reactors involve a process which will take many of the minerals contained within the water like, hardness, calcium, boron, barium, and magnesium, and saturate them to levels where they will form crystals, or pellet as shown in the image on the left.  These pellets can serve several functions as a soils product to elevate the pH of soils where acidic soils tend to reside.  It could also be used in the Portland cement business, since they take lime stone and calcine it to produce Calcium Oxide, which is needed to make cement.

Because of this process, the minerals removed will become a product, verses other approaches where these minerals are removed they become waste.  Depending on the mineral concentration the amount of sludge produced from a conventional system would be 120 to 150 tons of dry solids that would need to be destroyed.  That is dry tons, in real life at 20% solids, due to moisture contained within the sludge that would equate to 750 tons that would have to be disposed of per day or $4.9 million dollars per year, disposal cost.  The pellet reactor will produce between 90 and 128 tons per day, of 95% solids, and becomes a product that can be sold.  In addition to the volume of material being produced, the difference, from a logistic side, one would need 37 trucks a day to haul away the sludge and the other will need 3 trucks per day to move product.

The water leaving the pellet reactor system will then move through the Electro-Coagulation Unit, ECU.  This unit, historically, has been used as the primary system to remove organic, metals, water hardness, ammonia compounds, and NORMS.  The unit produces a good quality effluent, but with the cost of disposal of all the sludges is a factor.  In this system the ECU will be used as a polishing system to make sure that the salt being produce will meet the quality necessary for road salt and industrial needs.  The most important purpose of the ECU is the removal of the NORMs and putting them into an inert or oxidized state.  This will mitigate the reactivity of the NORMs as a long-range liability.  In addition, it will present the potential for lithium recovery from the solids the precipitate out of the ECU.  Theoretically the potential for lithium recovery is there, however, since the quantities, in the samples tested are slow low it could not be confirmed.  This is a potential in the future which could produce up to 455 pounds/10,000 barrels treated.

The brine water that is discharged from the ECU will be sent to two storage tanks for final treatment.

The equipment to be used for the final process is a combination of evaporation and crystallization.  The system works under a slight vacuum which reduces the boiling point of water.  The process involves removing the vapor coming off the evaporation process and capturing some of that heat to be placed in the incoming water.  This accomplishes two purposes, first, the energy is captured in the incoming water as mentioned and second, by capturing that energy it causes the steam to condense forming condensate or high-quality water that will be used in the plant in various operations and which can also be sold.  The separation process is accomplished by a series of cyclone units, no moving parts, where the water vapor is removed from the top, the salt crystals through the bottom, if they are of the size desired, and the water is recycled for more evaporation.  This process is continued until all the water has evaporated and salt crystals are formed.  This system has been designed to operate and generate the desired particle size needed, 2.36mm to 4.75mm in general, with some at 600µm.  If too many crystals fall below the 600 µm, excess can be dissolved and sent back to the evaporator/crystallizer.

Dryness being an issue, will be addressed with the addition of an anti-clumping agent, at this time the use of Sodium Aluminosilicate will be applied.  Other compounds may be used if the salts produced can maintain the 1% or less moisture value.  It is expected that the moisture content of the salt coming out of the process will be between 5-7%, at which time the salt will be passed through a kiln or drying oven to reduce the moisture content to the desired levels.  Bulk storage on site will consist of two 12,730 ft2 building which can hold approximately 7700 tons of salt each.