Combinations of Technologies

Fact Sheet - Combinations of Technologies

Intro to Produced Water
Technology Descriptions
Fed & State Regulations
Technology Identification

Many of the other fact sheets describe individual technologies that remove various pollutants from water. Only rarely are these technologies used by themselves. In most instances, a group of treatment technologies are used in series to accomplish the final treatment goal. Rather than singling out a few commercial processes that combine multiple technologies into a coordinated treatment system, this fact sheet introduces the concept of coordinated treatment systems.

Most of the large produced water treatment equipment vendors offer multiple technologies that are used depending on the particular application. They can provide technologies to remove different groups of pollutants and can recommend a sequence of pretreatment processes, followed by primary treatment processes. In some cases, they offer a turnkey coordinated system that is already designed to remove target pollutants. In other cases, the sequence of pretreatment and treatment units is customized for each site specific application.

As an example, pretreatment steps are used to allow the final treatment step to proceed efficiently. Reverse osmosis (RO) membranes are effective at removing total dissolved solids, but foul very quickly if exposed to untreated produced water. One or more types of pretreatment are normally used to remove pollutants that readily foul the membrane. Examples of the pretreatment steps are oil adsorption materials, and microfiltration or ultrafiltration processes.

Texas A&M University developed a portable produced water treatment trailer that employed different adsorption and membrane treatment technologies (see Domestic Use Fact Sheet and Membrane Processes Fact Sheet ) The prototype was so successful that the concept was commercialized to a private company. Texas A&M received funding in 2009 to develop a new trailer for testing pretreatment and treatment technologies in the Marcellus Shale.

Other Resources
An online CBM produced water management tool [external site], to be released for public use late in 2010, was developed by researchers at the Colorado School of Mines, Argonne National Laboratory, and Kennedy-Jenks Consultants. The tool’s technology selection module was developed to help CBM producers choose one or more technologies that can treat the water to various end water qualities. The internal logic in the tool selects several combinations of pretreatment and treatment technologies for each set of conditions. The technologies considered by the module are further described in CSM (2009).

ALL Consulting is developing a Water Treatment Technology Catalog and Decision Tool through funding from NETL. They hope to have a draft version out for review in mid-February, 2011. The final version should be available later in 2011. It will address shale gas produced water in five specific plays (Marcellus, Fayetteville, Haynesville, Woodford, and Barnett). The ALL decision tool focuses on selecting treatment technologies to support a given water management approach. In addition to providing a technical description of the various technology types, the system will also identify the various vendors who are actually working in the different basins and will describe what is different in each vendor’s approach to the basic technology.

CSM, 2009, “Technical Assessment of Produced Water Treatment Technologies,” prepared by the Colorado School of Mines as part of RPSEA Project 07122-12, November. Available at