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New control software aims to optimize water treatment processes

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Water Planet has deployed its new IntelliFlux control software at California’s first merchant facility designed to treat oil and gas produced water for beneficial reuse.

Operated by Sweetwater Tech Resources (STR), this regional water treatment facility gives local oil and gas producers a reliable, economic and sustainable option for converting billions of gallons of produced water annually into clean water streams available for beneficial reuse. It is located in Wasco, a town centrally located around multiple active oil fields surrounding Bakersfield.

Because the wastewater can be treated for reuse, oil producers have a cost-competitive option to trucking it to third-party disposal wells. The project is expected to yield significant environmental benefits by reducing the amount of water disposed, as well as producing more water that can be reused to help fill the demand of local agricultural and industrial water consumers.

The facility started up in January at 25,000 gal/day of water under a temporary operating permit and will scale to 420,000 gal/day after the final permit is approved. Ultimately, Sweetwater plans to run multiple water recycling facilities in the Bakersfield area, treating up to 4 million gal/day.

The project uses Water Planet’s artificial intelligence-based self-adaptive flux optimization control software, IntelliFlux, which can help to treat produced water from multiple oil and gas companies operating in different geological formations. These waters vary widely in concentrations of salts, minerals, suspended solids, oil and dissolved hydrocarbons. Until now, the only way to handle them was through disposal by deep well injection or retention in surface impoundments.

Water Planet and Sweetwater originally demonstrated the facility to local governmental regulators and oil producers during  spring 2016 to provide assurance to all parties regarding the technical feasibility and assurances regarding the treated water quality.

“This facility is just the first step in providing a new, more sustainable solution for produced water management. Why waste a valuable water resource by injecting it deep in the earth where it is lost forever? Water reuse is the future, and this installation can serves as a model to be replicated in other water-stressed oil and gas producing regions around the world,” said Eric Hoek, Water Planet CEO.

Dundee Kelbel, President of Sweetwater Tech Resources, said, “Deep well injection disposal of produced water is going to be a thing of the past.” Mr Kelbel also said that ponds for disposal of produced water are coming under more scrutiny. “This facility will process nearly a half million gallons of water per day. It’s a drop in the bucket for the California oil and gas industry, but this project gives us a stepping stone to build upon towards future water sustainability,” he noted.

For this project, Water Planet devised a first-of-its-kind system consisting of a multidisciplinary treatment train designed to remove several contaminants of concern including suspended solids, free oil and grease, dissolved organics, salts and minerals, including boron.

Mr Hoek added, “The key is our AI-based IntelliFlux controls. Most of the system consists of off-the-shelf softening, filtration and desalination technologies. However, the uniqueness is that this system can reliably accept a wide range of influent water qualities while producing a consistent effluent water quality and at a cost that makes sense.”

IntelliFlux is a trademark of Water Planet.

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