Water Reclamation Center Opens To Boost Environmental Conservation

A gathering of Wyoming's finest were on hand October 6, 2010, to witness the official opening of the new Red Desert Water Reclamation (RDWR) center. Designed to reclaim water polluted by use within the oil and gas industry, the RDWR facility brings a significantly higher level of environmental sustainability to the state. RDWR is located less than two hours by truck from a large number of multiple oil- and gas-producing basins.

RDWR can treat approximately 20,000 barrels of water per day, using a chemical-free, low-cost technology to transform pollluted water that is currently lost through well-injection or evaporation methods into usable water that easily meets both U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Wyoming's Department of Environmental Quality standards.

Incoming water is sorted on the basis of its Total Dissolved Solids, as much as 9000 parts per million (ppm), and isolated into tanks. It then passes through a system of clarifiers to remove suspended solids and floating organics, which are neutralized with a bentonite and polymer compound for disposal in a land fill. After clarification, the water goes through electro coagulation, flocculation and separation, and finally Reverse Osmosis. Fully cleaned, RDWR's reclaimed water can be used for irrigation or recycled for re-use in additional oil and gas production processes.

Normal production processes for natural gas and oil wells, plus the occasional reworking of individual wells, as needed, results in trillions of barrels of polluted water each year. Until RDWR opened, the most popular methods for disposal of this polluted water have been evaporation ponds or injection wells, a process called hydraulic fracturing or 'fracking'. With the opening of RDWR, Wyoming’s oil and gas companies are the first in the industry to have the opportunity to cost-effectively reclaim their polluted water.

Because RDWR actually reclaims 90% of the polluted water it processes, said Richard M. Cyr, senior vice-president of Cate Street Capital, which owns the RDWR facility, "Red Desert promises to make more water available to Wyoming that would have otherwise been disposed of.” The company plans to open additional facilities like RDWR in Wyoming over the next 18 months.

The entire water treatment process at RDWR is fully automated. The facility includes a process management center, a training center, and three evaporation or holding ponds that each can hold 500,000 barrels of water. It occupies about 100 acres at 286 BLM Rd. #3203, Wamsutter, WY, which is near the Greater Green River and the Wind River Basins. The construction of the state-of-the-art facility involved more than 50 jobs, and its ongoing operations provide full-time work for at least six people.

More later ...

Photo credit: RDWR