Water Briefs

Ecosphere Technologies, a diversified water engineering and environmental services company, has completed the initial six months of an environmental services contract ...

Project Tests Biocide-Free Frac Disinfection Program

Ecosphere Technologies, a diversified water engineering and environmental services company, has completed the initial six months of an environmental services contract with Southwestern Energy Company. The service contract has involved an in depth field, safety, and laboratory testing program applying the Ecosphere Ozonix technology in the Fayetteville Shale region to replace biocides used in the fracturing process.

Ecosphere Technologies, through its majority owned subsidiary Ecosphere Energy Services, LLC, has provided its EcoFrac Water Treatment services on 40 Fayetteville Shale wells from November 2009 through June 30, 2010. The Ozonix process has received three U.S. Patents this year under the U.S. Patent Office Green Tech Fast Track Program.

“We are proud of the progress we’ve made with Southwestern Energy in the Fayetteville Shale proving the effectiveness of our environmentally friendly bacteria treatment services,” said Aaron Horn, President of Ecosphere Energy Services. “We now have results over a wide range of wells that proves we can economically replace liquid chemical biocides with our patented Ecosphere Ozonix process.”

For more information, please visit: www.ecospheretech.com.


Iowa Feedlots Fined for Alleged CWA Violations

EPA Region 7 has taken a series of civil enforcement actions against three beef feedlot operations in Iowa for violations of the Clean Water Act, as part of a continuing enforcement emphasis aimed at ending harmful discharges of pollutants from concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) into the region’s rivers and streams.

Of the three most recent enforcement actions, one involves a civil penalty against a CAFO for failure to comply with its national Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit. Bruce Feedlot, of Hastings, IA, has agreed to pay a $31,573 civil penalty for its unauthorized discharges of pollutants to Indian Creek and its tributaries in Mills County, IA.

The remaining two enforcement actions involve administrative compliance orders issued to medium-sized CAFOs, which are feedlots that confine between 300 and 999 cattle. EPA has documented significant water quality problems associated with medium CAFOs and is making enforcement at these operations a priority.

Of the three most recent enforcement actions, one involves a civil penalty against a CAFO for failure to comply with its national Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit. Bruce Feedlot, of Hastings, Iowa, has agreed to pay a $31,573 civil penalty for its unauthorized discharges of pollutants to Indian Creek and its tributaries in Mills County, IA.

The remaining two enforcement actions involve administrative compliance orders issued to medium-sized CAFOs, which are feedlots that confine between 300 and 999 cattle. EPA has documented significant water quality problems associated with medium CAFOs and is making enforcement at these operations a priority.


New Contract Awarded for Mobile Frac Water Recycling System

Produced Water Solutions has been awarded a multi-year contract for its produced water recycling mobile treatment system that will be operated in the Denver-Julesburg Basin of Colorado.

PWS has developed mobile treatment systems that treat contaminated production water and enable its customers to recycle and reuse this water in the fracturing process thereby minimizing the amount of fresh water resources used.

“We are pleased that this major producer has selected our mobile treatment technology and system over competing companies. We are in discussions with multiple producers in numerous basins throughout the U.S. to deploy our mobile treatment technology under multi-year contracts,” said George Kast, Founder and CEO of PWS.


Companies to offer Oil Sands Water Treatment

GE and FilterBoxx recently signed an agreement to develop integrated de-oiling and water treatment options for Alberta’s oil sands. Specifically, the two companies will work together on heavy oil produced water treatment projects using in-situ thermal methods such as steam-assisted gravity drainage (SAGD).

Approximately 80 percent of the oil sands in Alberta cannot be open-pit mined because the bitumen is buried too deep below the surface and therefore must be recovered via in-situ (“in place”) methods. In-situ processes use thermal energy, steam or solvents to make bitumen flow so that it can be pumped by a well to the surface.

There are an estimated 98 billion barrels (bbl) of bitumen recoverable by in-situ technologies in the Athabasca region of Alberta alone. Conventional de-oiling and produced water treatment technologies require approximately 0.3 to 0.4 bbls of make-up water for each barrel of bitumen produced. FilterBoxx’s de-oiling and GE’s patented produced water evaporation technologies achieve significantly higher recoveries of the produced water, resulting in 30 to 50 percent less makeup water required for the SAGD process, depending on reservoir losses and other technical limitations.


Membranes Seeing Rising Flood of New Applications

Already the dominant technology for desalination, membrane-based water treatment is expanding into markets that were once the exclusive domain of chemical, biological, and basic filtration technologies. As the opportunities multiply for new and established membrane technologies, the total market will grow from $1.5 billion in 2009 to $2.8 billion in 2020, according to a new report from Lux Research.

Titled “Filtering Out Growth Prospects in the $1.5 Billion Membrane Market,” the report projects the volume of water that will be treated by membranes in 10 market segments, including desalination, municipal water recycling, industrial process water and wastewater treatment, cooling tower and boiler water treatment – as well as in emerging market segments such as oil and gas extraction. It details market size and growth for the four major categories of membranes – reverse osmosis (RO), nanofiltration, ultrafiltration, and microfiltration.

“Despite the groundswell of growth opportunities beyond RO desalination, entrepreneurs and investors contemplating a leap into the membrane market can expect some challenges ahead,” said Reka Sumangali, a Research Associate at Lux Research and the report’s lead author. “A lack of differentiation is driving down product prices, while development of more efficient, longer lasting membranes will keep margins low.”

Lux Research’s report provides strategic insights and analysis on membrane markets, technologies, and applications for those with a vested interest in the membrane market. Visit www.luxresearchinc.com for more information.


Company Agrees to Resolve Environmental Violations

McWane Inc., a national cast iron pipe manufacturer headquartered in Birmingham, AL, has agreed to pay $4 million to resolve more than 400 violations of federal and state environmental laws. The settlement covers 28 of the company’s manufacturing facilities in 14 states and also requires the company to perform seven environmental projects valued at $9.1 million.

“In addition to meeting its environmental obligations and taking corrective measures, McWane will go beyond compliance and take action to protect communities that are at the greatest risk for air and water pollution,” said Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance.

The $4 million civil penalty will be divided among the United States, Alabama and Iowa. The environmental projects McWane will perform will address stormwater contamination at numerous locations; reduce mercury emissions in Provo, Utah and Tyler, Texas; reduce volatile organic compounds (VOCs) emissions in Bedford, IN, and Anniston, AL; and enhance air quality in Coshocton, OH. Additionally, McWane has already undertaken corrective measures to resolve the violations, at a cost of more than $7.6 million.


Report Examines Macro Liquid Filtration Market

Sales of liquid macro filtration equipment and media will reach $5.2 billion next year. Of that total, $2.3 billion or 45 percent of the sales will be in Asia. This is the latest forecast in the online Liquid Filtration and Media World Markets published by the McIlvaine Company.

One of the biggest drivers will be the construction of sewage treatment plants in China. In the just completed 11th five-year plan (2006-2010), China doubled its secondary sewage treatment capacity. This pace will continue through the 12th five-year plan. Much of the sludge dewatering is being accomplished by belt filter presses. The Asian market for belt filter presses will be just under $300 million in 2011.

Granular media filters are the largest equipment segment in liquid macro filtration. They are used to purify surface water to provide municipal drinking water. Throughout Asia there is a major effort to provide safe water to all citizens.

Recessed chamber filter presses are widely used in the chemical and mining industries. Asia leads the world in the purchase of this type of filter. Bag filters are used in chemical and metal working industries. They are also used for the purification of produced water in oil and gas extraction. This is a big market for filter media. The replacement bag market in Asia will be over $200 million in 2011.

A fast growing segment of liquid macro filtration is the automatic backwashing filter. This filter uses screens or disks and is replacing bag filters in some applications. It also competes with liquid cartridges (not considered part of macro filtration). These backwashing filters are used in irrigation, metal working and many other applications.


Mill Water Projects Completed

Veolia Water Solutions & Technologies announced the completion of the river water intake and wastewater treatment projects at the ThyssenKrupp Stainless USA and ThyssenKrupp Steel USA mills in Calvert, AL. The water treatment systems were designed and built by N.A. Water Systems, a Veolia Water Solutions & Technologies (VWS) company located near Pittsburgh, PA, and will be operated by Veolia Water North America under a long-term contract.

Both treatment systems incorporate VWS’ patented Actiflo® Turbo sand-ballasted clarification technology. The wastewater treatment system also includes VWS’ AnoxKaldnes™ Moving Bed Bioreactor (MBBR) integrated with an activated sludge process for organics removal, and chemical conditioning using an innovative Turbomix™ reactor for metals precipitation. These technologies enable the treatment processes to produce high-quality water within a very small footprint as compared to conventional systems.

The process water system is currently supplying water for commissioning of equipment for the new carbon steel and stainless steel facilities. When completed, the carbon steel operations will have a capacity of 4.3 million metric tons of carbon steel products. ThyssenKrupp plans to start up its hot strip mill this summer and ramp up to include cold rolling and galvanizing processes. The stainless steel operations will ultimately have a manufacturing capacity of 1 million metric tons of stainless steel products, beginning this fall with cold rolling and finishing processes, and later ramping up hot and cold forming operations and a melt shop.

Total treatment capacity for the process water system is 14.4 million gallons per day (MGD). The 5.8-MGD wastewater treatment system also has been completed and will begin operation once steel production begins this summer.

The river water system at the ThyssenKrupp site utilizes Actiflo® Turbo technology to provide river water clarification in a small footprint.

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