Water Briefs

Grizzly Oil Sands has selected GE’s produced water evaporation technology for its Algar Lake project near Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada.

Canadian Oil Sands Project to Recycle Produced Water

Grizzly Oil Sands has selected GE’s produced water evaporation technology for its Algar Lake project near Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada. Phase 1 of the Algar Lake Steam-Assisted Gravity Drainage (SAGD) project will produce 5,000-6,000 barrels per day of bitumen and, by using GE’s produced water evaporation process, will recycle up to 97 percent of the produced water.

Grizzly’s Algar Lake is one of three recent projects, including Harvest Black Gold, to choose GE’s patented evaporative technology to treat and recycle its SAGD wastewater, assisting this producer to minimize water consumption and comply with the Alberta Energy Resources Conservation Board (ERCB) regulations and directives pertaining to water use. Coupled with GE’s proprietary contaminant reduction system, the technology can produce a high-quality distillate suitable for use as feedwater to high-pressure drum boilers.

“Our selection of GE technology is the result of their experience and application of the technology in the oil sands,” said Ryan Chase, director of projects at Grizzly Oil Sands. “The team at GE has supported our Advanced, Relocatable, Modularized, Standardized (ARMS) design.”

As projects in Alberta’s oil sands continue to grow, so does the potential for production activities to produce large quantities of wastewater. Developers of oil sands resources are increasingly turning to GE’s evaporative and zero-liquid discharge (ZLD) technologies to address this critical issue.

In addition to the produced water evaporation system, GE also is providing the Algar Lake SAGD project with system design, equipment, instruments and controls, training and site support. GE will deliver equipment to the site in the first half of 2012, with installation and commissioning scheduled for the second half of 2012.

Medical Centers Orders Biomass Gasification System

Nexterra Systems Corp. has signed a $6.9 million contract to deliver a biomass gasification system for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center (VAMC) in Battle Creek, MI. The system will provide clean, carbon-neutral heat and power to the medical center.

The total cost of the project is $18 million and it will be delivered in partnership with DeMaria Building Co. and HGA Architects. Switching from fossil fuel to biomass supports the Department of Veterans Affairs’ objectives of achieving a 30 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) by 2020, producing a minimum of 7.5 percent of electricity from renewable sources.

“Biomass gasification is the cleanest, most cost effective way for health care facilities and other public institutions to lower their fuel costs and GHGs,” said Jonathan Rhone, Nexterra President and CEO. “This project is a significant commercial milestone for Nexterra as we expand into the health care market. We are pleased to support the Department of Veterans Affairs in becoming a leader in on-site renewable energy.”

Switching from fossil fuels to carbon neutral biomass will allow the VAMC to cut its GHG emissions by approximately 14,000 tons per year, reducing its carbon footprint by approximately 80 percent. The move also enables the facility to meet the requirements of the Obama Administration’s Executive Order 13514, which declared the U.S. Federal government’s commitment to reducing its GHGs by 28 percent by 2020.

The 28 MMBtu/hr gasification system will be designed to supply the facility with 2 MW of renewable electrical power and 14,000 pounds per hour of saturated steam. By using locally sourced residual biomass, which is in plentiful supply in the region surrounding Battle Creek, the VAMC will reduce its dependence on fossil fuels, leverage its operational spending locally in support of local industry and divert debris from landfill.

Minera México Contracts for Water Treatment Solutions

BioteQ Environmental Technologies has signed an agreement with Minera México, S.A. de C.V., a subsidiary of Grupo México S.A.B. de C.V., to provide water treatment solutions that support Minera México’s commitment for the sustainable development of their mineral resources.

The two companies have agreed to develop projects where BioteQ’s technologies can be employed in the recovery, recycle and treatment of industrial waste, wastewater and by-product management. The framework agreement provides the commercial basis to develop waste treatment projects that are technically and financially attractive using BioteQ’s technology while meeting Minera México’s sustainable development objectives.

Under the agreement BioteQ will provide process design and commissioning services as well as plant equipment on a process fee basis, in return for a license to use its technology for each treatment project. Minera México will provide for construction of the treatment plants.

The companies have initiated the review of the first 10 potential treatment projects at three of Minera México’s sites in Mexico with the objective to develop waste recovery and recycle projects focused on existing waste management opportunities in smelter dust treatment as well as copper, molybdenum and zinc recovery from historic wastewater sources. Updates for individual projects will be provided as details are available and definitive commercial agreements for each site are completed.

Minera México is Mexico’s largest mining company with the world’s largest copper reserves and a leader in low cost production. Grupo México operates 19 sites in Mexico, the US and Peru with fully integrated operations in mining, smelting and refining to produce copper, molybdenum, silver, gold, zinc, and lead.

Global Desalination Market Continues Growth

The global desalination market continues to grow led by demand for seawater desalination, according to the 24th GWI/IDA Worldwide Desalting Plant Inventory, which covers 12 months ending June 30, 2011. The numbers were released in September at a briefing on the State of Desalination held at the IDA World Congress on Desalination and Water Reuse.

The total global capacity of all plants currently online is 66.5 million cubic meters per day (m3/d), an increase of 8.8 percent over the 2010 inventory. The total worldwide capacity of all desalination plants, including those online, under construction and/or contracted, stands at 77.4 million m3/d.

In all, including plants under construction, 747 plants with a combined capacity of 5.3 million m3/d have been added to this year’s inventory, as compared with 499 plants and 3.1 million m3/d added to the previous inventory. Of the capacity added to this year’s inventory, a total of 2.3 million m3/d has been contracted since January 1, 2011.

There are now 15,988 desalination plants worldwide, up from 15,180 in 2010. Desalination is used in 150 countries around the world, providing some or all the daily water needs of an estimated 300 million people.

“The desalination market continues to grow despite completion of major projects in key markets and the effects of global economic issues. Population and economic growth, pollution of existing water resources, and climate change continue to drive the need for new and reliable sources of water. Desalination is one of the answers. It continues to be an increasingly important part of global water solutions for the 21st century,” said Lisa Henthorne, Director and Past President of IDA.

Seawater desalination leads the response to addressing the world’s water challenges, comprising nearly 60 percent of the total worldwide installed capacity. Saudi Arabia is the largest desalination market, followed by the UAE, Spain and the United States. Australia, site of the 2011 IDA World Congress, ranks 7th.

Oil Distributor Penalized for Lax Spill Prevention Measures

Kimble Oil has agreed to pay a $15,000 fine for alleged violations of the Clean Water Act at its oil storage and distribution facility in Challis, ID, under an order issued by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

During an August 2009 inspection of the facility, inspectors noted several violations of Clean Water Act regulations including failure to prepare an adequate spill prevention plan; inadequate secondary containment structures; failure to control drainage for undiked areas; and failure to conduct inspections and spill prevention training.

According to Edward Kowalski, EPA Director of the Office of Compliance and Enforcement in Seattle, the Clean Water Act’s Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasures regulations are designed to ensure that plans and control measures are in place before a spill occurs.

“Preventing and containing oil spills is essential to protecting our rivers, lakes and streams,” said EPA’s Kowalski. “Developing plans, installing containment structures and taking other safety measures helps ensure that spills won’t occur, and if they do, they are contained.”

The Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasures regulations require that facilities handling or storing a certain volume of oil have a detailed, written plan detailing the measures in place for preventing and responding to petroleum spills.

For more information about EPA’s SPCC Rule, visit: http://www.epa.gov/emergencies/content/spcc/index.htm

The Clean Water America Alliance (Alliance) is accepting nominations for the 2012 U.S. Water Prize. The Prize recognizes individuals and institutions that have taken the initiative, shown innovation, and contributed to greater water sustainability.

Applications should be submitted via the website www.USWaterPrize.org. The deadline for nomination is December 7, 2011.

Launched in 2010, the U.S. Water Prize seeks to recognize successful efforts in protecting and improving the health of US watersheds. Past winners include the City of Los Angeles, Milwaukee Water Council, National Great Rivers Research & Education Center, New York City Department of Environmental Protection, and Pacific Institute.

The Clean Water America Alliance created the U.S. Water Prize to encourage, celebrate, and honor individuals and institutions that develop projects or programs that are innovative and have a clear impact on the advancement of water sustainability.

Individuals, institutions, and organizations whose project or initiative advances holistic, watershed-based approaches to water quality and quantity challenges may apply.

Initiatives may be in education, public awareness, research, technology, water resource management, or policy development as long as they address issues surrounding water as a finite, reusable and sustainable resource.

Up to five winners will be celebrated in a special ceremony held during April, 2012, in Washington, D.C. For more information, contact Kristyn Abhold at kabhold@cwaa.us.

EPA Approves Biological Product for Controlling Mussels

The Environmental Protection Agency has approved use of a biological product for controlling invasive mussels.

Across the U.S. and Europe, invasive zebra and quagga mussels are crippling industrial and commercial water sources by clogging pipes and infesting freshwater lakes and rivers, resulting in billions of dollars of damage to civil and industrial infrastructure.

EPA approved the use of Zequanox™, a biological treatment system from Marrone Bio Innovations (MBI).

“The Zequanox approval represents a revolutionary step in the treatment of this serious problem,” said Dr. Sarahann Rackl, MBI’s Invasive Mussel Project Leader. “By providing a safe and effective biological solution that does not harm other aquatic species, Zequanox could ultimately prevent millions of gallons of toxic chemical by-products from entering increasingly scarce water sources.”

Zequanox is derived from a common microbe found in soil and water bodies. The product has significant benefits over current chemical treatments, which can be toxic to beneficial species and pollute the waterways.

It can be used by power plants and raw water treatment facilities as an alternative to chemical treatments, such as chlorine, or as a complement to chemical products.

The approval of Zequanox marks MBI’s expansion into the multi-billion dollar water market. In preparation of the EPA submission, MBI worked extensively with the Federal Bureau of Reclamation in a hydroelectric generation facility on the lower Colorado River under a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement, as well as with the Ontario Power Generation’s Niagara Plant Group.

Zequanox will initially be launched in power generation and industrial facilities in late 2011 and later will expand into open water treatments.

Company Selected for Produced Water Treatment

Osum Oil Sands Corp. will use water treatment technologies from Veolia Water Solutions & Technologies to process produced water from its Taiga Project at Cold Lake in Alberta. Osum will produce bitumen using the in-situ, Steam Assisted Gravity Drainage (SAGD) process beginning production in 2013.

This produced water treatment system consists of AutoFlot® Induced Gas Flotation (IGF) and Power Clean® Oil Removal Filter (ORF) technologies for the secondary deoiling process. HPD evaporators will then process the de-oiled produced water to provide high-quality water to the Once-Through Steam Generators (OTSG) as well as treat the resulting blowdown.

The produced water treatment system is an example of the adoption of technologies and directives by Osum to minimize the impact of the Taiga Project on the surrounding environment. The evaporator system will recover over 93% of the water from SAGD operations for re-use in the process. More importantly, Osum will use no freshwater in the extraction process; instead using high salinity water for makeup demand for steam generation. The Silica Sorption™ Process used in the evaporator package was designed to tolerate the use of this brackish water as makeup that is unfit for consumption.

Flexible disposal of the evaporator concentrate from the Silica Sorption Process allows minimal treatment and safe handling of waste prior to disposal. Osum plans to use onsite disposal facilities for this concentrate in an effort to reduce truck traffic in the area.

Molson Coors Water Resources Director Joins UN Committee

Mike Glade, director of water resources for Molson Coors, has been selected to serve a two-year term as the North American representative on the Steering Committee of the United Nation’s CEO Water Mandate. The steering committee oversees strategic, administrative and financial decisions in relation to the initiative.

Launched in July 2007, the CEO Water Mandate is a public-private initiative designed to assist companies in the development, implementation and disclosure of water sustainability policies and practices.

“Molson Coors is honored to have the opportunity to help guide and strengthen the CEO Water mandate by participating on the mandate’s steering committee,” said chief corporate responsibility officer, Bart Alexander. “Mike brings a broad range of experience, technical knowledge, and leadership in water stewardship, local community stakeholder engagement and championing global corporate water sustainability initiatives.”

The steering committee is composed of 10 corporate representatives and several special non-business advisors. The business representatives serve staggered two-year terms. The Secretariat selected candidates based on criteria including: demonstrated active participation in the mandate, sectoral diversity and capacity to bring fresh ideas and innovation to the initiative.

“Molson Coors has always believed that companies play a critical role in working with local water stakeholders to preserve sustainable watersheds,” said Glade. “As a beverage company, the mission of the CEO Water Mandate is fundamental to managing water risk and water impacts within our local markets, communities and supply chain. Toward that end, we have incorporated the six core elements of the Mandate and utilized them as a platform for our own internal global water strategy.”

Molson Coors became a signatory to the CEO Water Mandate in 2008. In addition to a water strategy that targets a 15% reduction in water use by the end of 2012 (baseline year 2008), the company also advocates for active community engagement and education around water issues.

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