Reverse osmosis has many uses in many areas. It is used not only to produce clean drinking water, but also to create the water profiles needed in industry and commerce. The latest news suggests that this technology can also find applications to support the recycling of wastewater from the oil and gas industry.
Oil and Gas Industry:
The oil and gas industry alone produces approximately 900 billion wastewater annually worldwide. This includes not only various salts, but also chemicals and contaminants that are considered dangerous in contact with humans. It is now being disposed of in wells deep underground so that it is as far away from human contact and the environment as possible. However, surface leaks remain a problem in certain parts of the world. The industry is now looking forward to alternative disposal options to reduce costs. This may also be related to the growing need for water in drought-prone areas and the potential for these deep underground wells to lead to earthquakes.
Alternative Disposal Method: A Case study
This is a water-intensive process that requires pressure to break obstacles in wells. Currently, 15 million gallons of water are needed to break such wells, wasting 10 barrels of water for each barrel of oil produced. Therefore, it makes more sense to recycle than simply remove the waste. This helps meet the water needs for hydraulic fracturing and reduce stress on the local governments that provide it, especially in drought-prone areas. Ideally, it offers traditional and commercial feasibility that disposal wells cannot match.
This is positive news, but many suggest that the scope of this idea should not be extended beyond oil fields to include plant irrigation. It usually has a higher TDS than any other product and can be a problem for farmers. It can be used, but after careful treatment with seawater desalination technology to ensure safe water for cattle drinking and irrigation purposes. This is a good option if you want to recycle waste. However, the cost of this method is very high, not to mention the series of reverse osmosis membranes that need to be placed one at a time to prevent dirt droplets from passing through.
As mentioned earlier, products rejected by the oil and gas industry are potentially radioactive, increasing the cost of safety for reuse in agriculture. A study shows that the results show evidence of contamination, even after a careful cleaning process. Therefore, the possibility and risk are high. Therefore, on a larger scale, this option cannot be executed until a more appropriate option appears.
Recycling products rejected by industry by hydraulic fracturing is the best idea we have today. However, careful disclosure, analysis, toxicity assessment, and monitoring techniques of the chemicals used are required before expanding beyond the field. Experts around the world have concluded that the use of product water for non-industrial purposes without the absolute certainty of these studies is extremely risky and costly.