Even though the price of oil and natural gas is down currently, there will come a time when exploration and upstream drilling will once again become viable on a large scale in the US. In the meantime, the slowdown in drilling has not slowed down legislative efforts in regards to drilling, especially when it comes to fracking.
Water plays a huge role in the fracking process. When you’re drilling into your oil well, you need to use a constant stream of water to lubricate the drill so that it doesn’t overheat, but to also act as an agent to treat the earth with chemicals that help prepare it for recovery. Water is also a vital part in removing or pushing aside any dirt, rock and drilling materials so that it doesn’t impact the product that you’re bringing up.
Initially, the major concern associated with the need to inject water into wells was monitoring the water that went into and came out of a well. Once the water was used and accounted for, it was dealt with through either surface ponds or deep well burials of the spent water. While this method of disposal needed monitoring, it was not as tightly regulated as today’s fracking water disposal is becoming.
With states like Pennsylvania no longer allowing untreated water disposal through these previously accepted methods, the process of fracking water treatment is becoming more and more critical. This means the use of either portable water treatment facilities, or treatment facilities being set up on a more permanent basis covering a wider geography of drilling sites in a centralized location.
Whether it’s drilling and extraction or water treatment, what all of these applications have in common is the need to measure the water flow – both influent and effluent.