Tangent Environmental Technologies

Green machine takes new tangent on wastewater reuse

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Courtesy of Tangent Environmental Technologies

The idea came to Jason Snydmiller while he was on the island of Borneo. At the time, Snydmiller had learned that the super-major – one of the six largest non-state-owned energy companies – he was under contract to would promptly fine any contractor that left oil in local waters. Although it seemed callous then, the rule was essential, since locals depended on the water for fishing and prawn farming, among other uses.

'I started thinking about being able to recover the hydrocarbons from water on a location or lease, and re-using or disposing of the water onsite without contaminating the environment,' says Snydmiller. The idea stuck. Today, two-year-old Tangent Environmental Technologies Ltd. offers oil and gas producers a portable wastewater treatment system that allows water to be recycled or disposed of, on- or offsite. Self-contained in a 20-foot sea container, the Cascade Wastewater System is a modular unit that uses a series of filters to scrub hydrocarbons and other contaminants from surface wastewater.

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The company says the system removes detergents and naturally occurring radioactive materials, while reducing sulphates, nitrates, phosphates, chlorides and such trace metals as calcium, sodium and magnesium. As for removing hydrocarbons, Snydmiller says the Cascade system can achieve 99.8% efficiency, processing up to 110 cubic metres per day (m³/d) of water. When the processing is done, the user is left with filtered water clean enough to safely put into city sewers, he says. Yet, that option won't be open to most oilpatch users, whose choices for disposing of the treated water will likely come down to two options: onsite disposal or recycling.

'But our preference is to reuse the water,' Snydmiller says. 'You could put it into the mudtanks for making drilling mud or into the rig tank for other re-use. You could also take it with you to the next [drilling] location, you could re-use it for agricultural purposes.'

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