B. Pakzadeh, B. Mastin, B. Chatterton, A. Vaillancourt, J. Renew, J. Wos, D. Philbrook, J. Min, C. Wardle
membrane, fracturing water, magnetic ballast clarification, solidification
Southern Research Institute, with project partners M2 Water Treatment, Inc. and BKT United received an award from Research Partnership to Secure Energy for America to develop an innovative, cost-effective, and robust approach for shale fracturing water treatment that produces National Pollution Discharge Elimination System quality water for discharge and/or reuse. Magnetic ballast clarification (MBC), vortex-generating nano-filtration (NF) membrane, and conventional reverse osmosis (RO) will be used to remove total suspended solids (TSS) and total dissolved solids (TDS), e.g., metals and naturally occurring radioactive materials (NORMS) from flowback and produced waters. Residues containing metals, NORMs, and/or trace elements will be managed with hydrogel adsorbent. In parallel, precipitation will be used for NORMs removal from membrane concentrates followed by solidification/stabilization for landfill disposal. Through development of a less expensive approach to frac water treatment, economic viability of producers, and environmental stewardship of fracking operations are more likely to be achieved and negative environmental impacts (freshwater use, wastewater discharges, and solids disposal) are likely to be reduced at local levels. This paper present the background and theory of the treatment processes used and provides an update on the latest developments of this project.