Processing Magazine

Pennsylvania treatment plant extracts oil, salts from fracking wastewater

January 7, 2014

<photocredit>Pro-syanov/iStockphoto/Thinkstock</photocredit>

A Pennsylvania wastewater processing plant is to produce oil and metals extracted from the fracking wastewater it processes, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Eureka Resources operates a wastewater processing facility in Williamsport, which, as of this month, is fitted with a brand new crystallizer and a methanol recovery system. The new technology will allow the facility to further process the brine produced after treating the oil and gas production water and separate the metals within it.

Daniel Ertel, chief executive officer of Eureka Resources, explained that without utilizing the system, the brine would have been trucked to Ohio and then injected into a well. However, the facility is now able to extract various commodities out of the wastewater. For example, the oil will be purchased by wholesalers, while the methanol will be sold back to the oil and gas producers who need it as an antifreeze agent and a dehydrator. Eureka is currently in negotiations with several manufacturers regarding the purchase of the sodium chloride extracted from the wastewater in the treatment process, as this can be used as an industrial salt for fertilizers. Other chemicals from the brine could also be traded on the market, Ertel said.

RELATED: Fracking company to pay record fine for Clean Water Act violations

Depending on whether the technology proves to be profitable for the company, Eureka might build more crystallizers and focus on production of sodium chloride. Alternatively, it may concentrate on developing additional processes to extract more metals and salts from the brine, the  Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported.