Together, Dow Water & Process Solutions, a business unit of Dow Chemical Co., and Omni Water Solutions have treated more than 245,000 barrels of flowback and produced water from Texas’ Eagle Ford shale hydraulic fracturing operations.

In operation in Karnes County since June, Omni’s Hippo mobile water treatment unit — which includes both ultrafiltration and reverse osmosis membrane technologies from Dow — also is being used by another operator in Gonzales County to reduce water hardness and boron. The technology enables reuse of the cleaned water for drilling and hydraulic fracturing operations. The Gonzales County operator has been using Omni’s mobile treatment unit in a water recycling project to convert produced water into freshwater, brine and hydrocarbon streams. The project’s goal is to reduce boron levels from 90 parts per million to less than 5 parts per million in the fresh water stream so it is compatible with gel frac formulations. The objective is to reuse the water stream in subsequent well operations without having to blend in additional fresh water.

The reuse of produced and flowback water is of high significance to oil and gas operators, particularly due to local water shortages and historically dry conditions in the region. Water reuse allows operators to minimize the use and cost of freshwater resources, while reducing complexities surrounding local wastewater disposal and onsite wastewater trucking. 

After the process, fracturing fluids return to the surface and must be cleaned to remove high levels of solids, organics and other impurities. Over the longer term, produced water is brought to the surface contaminated with rapidly changing and difficult-to-remove elements such as calcium and boron from the formation rock. By applying an integrated set of advanced treatment technologies with an automated control system, Omni is able to deliver consistent water quality so operators can reuse produced water.