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Case Studies

case study

Fort St. John Frac Flowback Remediation

– Summer, 2013

Problem

  • Opaque, dark water was collected from an open pit frac flowback pond containing some hydrocarbons exhibiting considerable bacterial activity. Testing revealed particulates were in the sub-micron size range and would never respond to conventional gravitational settling or microfiltration (1.0-25.0 micron).
Customer Needs

  • Massive, growing volume of accumulated frac flowback was being stored in open ponds on customer’s property. The flowback was being slowly consumed in conjunction with fresh surface water to formulate new frac fluid compositions, but decreasing quality of flowback was necessitating increased demand for frac chemicals and lowering the efficacy of the resultant frac. Additionally, bacterial activity in the ponds was creating an H2S hazard.

Solution and Performance

  • The Fort St. John flowback sample was treated with the Hydro-Pod, a system that utilizes bimetallic electrocoagulation in conjunction with ozone treatment.
  • The application of caustic for pH control prompted significant precipitation of heavy metal salts. Repeated ozone treatment was required to remove discoloration (likely caused by the presence of Fe2+), crack most of the organic constituents of the flowback, destroy the bacterial infestation, and initiate further precipitation.
  • The EC treatment stabilized the solid particulates, leading to further particle growth. Addition of polymer further coagulated the solids, causing them to drop to the bottom of the storage tank.
COMPONENT UNITS BEFORE AFTER % REMOVAL
Fe mg/liter 30.5 2.2 93%
B mg/liter 12.5 3.5 72%
Ba mg/liter 160 25 84%
Ca mg/liter 4500 2500 44%
Hardness mg/liter 12500 7500 40%
SO42- mg/liter 19.7 3.9 80%
Oil & Grease mg/liter 4 0.5 88%

Additional Hydro-Pod Benefits

  • Effective hydrocarbon, heavy metal, and bacterial removal.
  • Reduced water footprint.
  • Reduced environmental risk from flowback pond LOC.
  • At-the-well analytical capabilities.

Products/Equipment Used

  • HydroPod
  • Caustic
  • Ozone
  • Bimetallic Electrocoagulation
  • Polymer