In Situ Treatment of Produced Water Impacted Soil


 Produced water releases impact soil by addition of salts that can be difficult to remove, which often results in excavation and transport of significant volumes of soil. This approach is expensive, adds unnecessary vehicle trips on poorly maintained roads, increases the carbon footprint of the project, and requires infill of non-native soil. In situ treatment, alternatives are being tested regularly by the oil and gas industry to simplify remediation and use better technology to reduce impacts on the environment.

Project Characteristics:

 As a consulting firm providing remediation services for oil and gas operators in southeastern New Mexico, Ensolum is working with operators and regulators to better understand and apply soil restoration technologies as an alternative to traditional dig and haul methods and in a larger effort to prevent additional impacts to the environment. Ensolum is working with a major oil and gas operator to propose a remediation alternative that uses chemical fixation to treat chloride in soil utilizing SA-1000TM by 3Tier Technologies. Soil is treated on site through soil shredding, a process of physically breaking down the impacted soil through a trommel to provide as much surface area for treatment as possible. The chemical amendment is applied to the “shredded” soil and stock-piled on site until the treatment time is complete, then returned to the excavation. The methodology described above can also be applied to the hydrocarbon-impacted soil with the difference being the use of a peroxide or other similar oxidizer to remediate hydrocarbons.

The application of this amendment is currently being used at a test site in rural Eddy County, New Mexico by Patriot Environmental with oversight and monitoring by Ensolum. The New Mexico Oil and Conservation Division (NMOCD) is working with Ensolum, the operator, and amendment manufacturer by reviewing soil laboratory data of post-treatment soil and monitoring any changes of constituents of concern (COCs). While this pilot is designed to assist oil and gas operators in achieving compliance with NMOCD remediation guidelines for chloride concentrations, an added benefit of SA-1000TM is improved nutrient structure of treated soil ultimately capable of sustaining healthy vegetation growth.

Photo 1:  Soil Shredding and Treatment

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