Produced water disposal by hydro-fracturing plants is not a good option. On average, each hydro-fracturing well needs 2 to 5 million gallons of pure or fresh water. This water is pumped underground into the well at high pressure. The water fractures the rocks that hold gas and oil. Due to high pressure, the rocks are fractured releasing the trapped gas and oil.
However, must of the water pumped into the well flows back to the surface. It carries high amount of toxic chemicals that are used to facilitate the fracturing process. It also has other toxic materials that come from the fractured rocks. All these are in the water or fluid that is called the flow back.
Currently, companies that produce oil and gas through hydraulic fracturing use this reuse this water. However, it has to be treated because it has high amount of toxic chemicals that can interfere with the performance or effectiveness of the additives or chemicals that are used in the hydraulic fracturing process. Initially, this water was disposed.
Before disposal, produced water was stored in artificial ponds. These could leak allowing the water to flow and join underground water. This implies that the water could contaminate water that is usually consumed by human and other living organisms.
After storing and diluting the water, these companies could still not reuse the water. As such, it would be shipped to disposal locations, usually located at long distances. Before being disposed, the water would be put through specialized treatment. Eventually, this water was injected into deep underground wells. Produced water disposal was not the best option because this toxic water could spill during transportation. This posed a risk to the environment. In addition, the water caused earthquakes where it was injected into underground disposal wells. Thus, the solution was not really effective.
However, today this water can be treated and reused in the hydraulic fracturing systems. This is because there are companies that offer produced water treatment solutions. This implies that gas and oil companies do not have to dispose water after using it once. They can have it treated and then reuse it in their operations.
As such, any gas and oil producing company does not have an excuse for exposing the environment and human beings to the risk posed by frac water. They can easily have it treated and then reuse it instead of disposing it. This will also minimize their cost of operation.
Produced water disposal may not be the best option for gas and oil producing companies. This water can be treated and reused. Click here to learn more about produced water disposal
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