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The ITS platform is founded on a wastewater treatment process that has long been used to separate solids from waste streams - Dissolved Air Flotation (DAF). The process employs targeted chemicals to precipitate oils and solids (TSS) out of suspension, and a physical mechanism to remove those solids from the water.
The ITS consists of three main units: one to control chemical dosing, another to mix the chemicals into the water, and a third to perform the physical separation of solids. Unlike many technologies being applied to the oilfields, the ITS has a flexible process that can be adapted to the specific needs of the formation and to driller preferences.
The ITS can process 900gpm (31,000bbl/day) of frac water, all from the three trailer set-up. Our next generation ITS-600 unit is made for even greater mobility and ease of operation.
ITS Units Process Frac Water from Storage Ponds and Holding Tanks
Fracking a single well can require anywhere between 1-5 million gallons of water. Current practice is to pull this water from fresh water resources, like rivers, lakes, and aquifers. In areas already hard-pressed with water shortages, drawing on fresh water only adds to the environmental strain.
Moving water for one well can require upwards of 1,500 two-way truck trips. This movement causes major damage to rural roads not built for heavy traffic - not to mention all the dust, pollution and noise the influx in truck traffic can bring.
The current practice is to dispose of water that flows back out of a well. In 2012, this activity amounted to 730 billion gallons of water completely removed from the water cycle. In the years since, that number has continued to increase as thousands of new wells have been drilled and stimulated.
Treating Produced Water for TSS Removal: Raw vs. Treated
No matter the formation, regardless of frac fluid chemistry, suspended solids (TSS) must be removed in order to reclaim flowback and produced water for reuse. Otherwise, solids interfere with frac fluid performance and they plug up the fractures down-hole.
Depending on the frac species, slickwater, gel, or hybrid you have to treat water to enable the proper formation of the frac fluid. The general axiom is - use the lowest quality of water that will satisfy the needs of the process. For any formation, TSS removal is priority #1.
There are plenty of technology options available promising the ability to recycle frac water, whether or not they're viable is a numbers game. The ITS technology removes TSS, disinfects, and removes performance inhibiting ions from flowback and produced water, at or below the cost of sourcing, trucking and disposing of fresh water.
The most direct way to address environmental concerns and make frac water recycling viable is to modify the frac water management approach. That's the role of the ITS.
This is a conversation we've voiced since 2009 and now the big industry players are beginning to adopt frac water management programs and realize major economic and environmental benefits. Learn more about treating frac water for reuse by downloading our whitepaper below.