The term produced water is used for the water produced as a byproduct in the industry. Water is separated into special wells along the production process. In the past, this water was usually stored in those wells or special ponds, where it would evaporate over time. However, as the issue of environment protection has become extremely important, this kind of disposal of produced water has been abandoned, as it have negative effect on the environment. Produced water is now considered industrial waste at has to be disposed according to the valid regulations.
There are several process and technologies used for produced water treatment. Different industries involve different processes and chemicals into their everyday operations, which is why the produced water treatment is different from industry to industry. The basic of all of the processes is the removal of contamination using different chemicals or physical processes.
Brine treatment is a process during which salt ions are removed from the waste water. It is mainly used when treating produced water from natural gas, pulp and paper mill effluent, or in the food industry. The process includes produced water filtration with membranes or evaporation process.
Removal of solids is most commonly done using sedimentations techniques. This includes oil and grease removal, which is commonly the case in oil refineries and chemical plants, and biodegradable organics removal, usually conducted with treating water of organic origin. When it comes to the first process, filtration or ultrafiltration is necessary in some cases when densities of solids are similar, as simple technique of solids removal may fail in such cases. The second process includes different biological and chemical processes which use various substances for water treatment.
Neutralization is a process that is most often applied for treatment of acids and alkais in the water. Other toxic materials, such as zinc, silver, arsenic, etc. are also treated using biological processes. Neutralization of hazardous substances is necessary in order to prevent them to pollute the environment as this kind of pollution may endanger nearby ecosystems.
Treating produced water is an important task imposed on all of us. It is essential to raise awareness of the negative influence of produced water. Not only should we be aware of this problem and the possible consequences, but we must do our best to learn about different treatment processes in order to reduce the amount of pollution as much as possible.
This issue is a global issue which should affect all of the people who want to preserve the environment for the future. Our goal should be developing new and improved techniques for treating produces water, which will eventually result in reduced pollution. Investing in research and productions of new systems and tools that improve the level of efficiency of water treatment, regardless if it is filtration removal or biochemical removal, should be our primary task. Reduction of pollution is necessary in various different fields and industries, but treating produced water is a good way to start this goal.