Posted in | News | Green Farming | Water | Energy

Oil and Gas Industry Wastewater Being Recycled for Agricultural Use

Two companies working together have perfected a method of turning wastewater from oil and gas wells into distilled water that can be used for agriculture, or to vastly reduce the environmental footprint the oil and gas industry has on the land.

Across the western United States alone, more than five billion gallons per day of brackish wastewater, known as produced water, is brought to the surface during oil and gas production. This wastewater has historically been re-injected deep back into the ground where it came from, never to be used again, and it must be hauled away at great cost over long trucking distances. With this new revolutionary water-saving technique, the brackish water can be purified on the site and used beneficially. Turning this wastewater into usable water benefits farmers, ranchers, and communities across the water-starved western United States and helps address the country's water and energy security.

"We have created a new water source for the arid west," said Altela CEO Ned Godshall. "This new system could create up to five billion gallons of water per day of safe, usable distilled water for our communities and our farms."

Altela, Inc., in cooperation with Laramie Energy II, LLC, produced and released 7,000 gallons of clean distilled water, purer than drinking water, from their treatment system into the Colorado River near Rifle CO for the first time on July 3rd. In many domestic wells, for every barrel of oil or gas brought from within the earth, over nine barrels of brackish water must be hauled away or re-injected into the earth. This new source of potable water comes from Altela's treatment of the water at the wellhead. That water can then be used for agriculture or for further energy extraction.

In addition, new oil and gas techniques use large amounts of water under pressure to extract the oil and gas from underground. Currently, that water must be hauled onto the site, using precious water resources and requiring roads and trucks to bring the water in. Now that water can be cleaned at the site and used for pressure extraction, thereby bypassing the need for trucks of clean water from other sites.

"The oil and gas industry can dramatically reduce its carbon footprint by doing away with most water trucks and road travel in our pristine wilderness," said Godshall. "We can now use on-site water that's purified to do the pressure extraction. This will help us find and extract new energy resources while protecting our natural resources."

Altela's ARS-4000 system removes all contaminates from the water co-produced with natural gas production. Altela and Laramie Energy received precedent-setting environmental regulatory approval to discharge and beneficially re-use clean, treated frac and produced water from the patented AltelaRain(SM) system for irrigation, commercial and industrial uses, including discharging into the Colorado River Basin for valuable in-stream flow rights.

Laramie Energy's President, Bruce Payne, states, "Our collaboration with the Altela team and its revolutionary technology represents a unique and compelling opportunity to lower our costs of produced water handling and disposal while creating a new source of clean water in the arid west in support of responsible energy production." Bob Hea, V.P. of Laramie Energy, said, "Altela has demonstrated its ability to turn frac water and brackish produced water into clean distilled water. This clean water meets standards for re-use, which increases environmental efficiency of natural gas production by limiting the amount of produced water having to be disposed of as waste. In addition, by treating our water at the well-site, we are able to reduce the amount of trucking typically associated with hauling this waste product away, which is a huge benefit to area residents."

"We are excited about our successful venture with Laramie Energy," said Godshall. "Laramie Energy is visionary in its commitment to environmentally sustainable energy production and we are honored to be their partner in reducing production waste handling costs while creating a new valuable water asset in the over-appropriated Colorado River Basin. Rarely does such a win-win solution exist."

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