Evaporation ponds, lined with quality, high density polyethylene liners, provide an affordable solution for processing production and flow back water in the oil and gas industry. Production water is naturally occurring water that surfaces in the process of oil and gas extraction. It contains many minerals such as iron, magnesium, calcium and barium as well as various hydrocarbons, possible carcinogens and some radioactive materials. Sometimes, a layer of oil is also retained, making it easily flammable. Flowback, on the other hand, is the fluid that returns to the surface after being injected in the oil for the hydraulic fracturing process. The fluid is injected into the oil well and then over the next few weeks, somewhere between twenty and forty percent of the solution returns to the surface. Flowback, is water based, and appears quite murky. It contains chemicals, clay, dissolved metal ions and total dissolved solids.
Due to the hazardous byproducts in production water and flow back, it is paramount that these liquids are handled properly. Evaporation ponds are the final piece of a multi-step process. Much care must be taken each step of the way to protect personnel and our environment. After production, the fluids are first taken to the acceptance pit. The liquids are stored in the pit until being transferred to settlement pits. In this phase, solids, liquids and oil are separated. The next step is called a sludge pond. In these ponds, hydro-carbons float to the top where they are skimmed and removed. After the sludge ponds, the remaining water is fed into evaporation ponds by gravity or piped from the separation equipment. Due to the contaminates that still remain in the water, evaporation ponds are typically built with two layers of liners. Many times, these layers are separated by a layer of clay with a leak monitoring system in place. Thankfully, industry leading reinforced liners, such as BTL liners AquaArmor, can be used with confidence. They are fabricated with high puncture resistance and are perfectly suited for oil, gas and water containment while boasting the highest strength and most UV resistance of any liner on the market. These liners securely contain the hazardous waste to protect ground water and protect our environment. The dark color of the liner also intensifies evaporation in this application, boosting speed and results. As another added feature, the texture of the liner also increases traction on the slopes between the ponds. This increased friction makes the levees more stable and reduces the risk of having any workers slip into the ponds.
While the installation of evaporation ponds in this industry can be similar to the steps referenced in the agriculture section of this book, it may also be helpful to enlist help from experts in installation. BTL liners can fabricate a liner to your specifications and has a team ready to help with your installation as well. From welding liner panels together to fit your evaporation pond, to testing for proper seal and strength, you can trust our team with containing your most hazardous materials.
Once evaporation ponds are designed, and properly lined with an industry leading reinforced liner, maintenance is simple. For many years, you can expect little to no routine care. After eight to ten years of use, you may see sediment build up collecting in the bottom of the ponds. At this point, it can easily be removed so that the ponds can continue to be used efficiently and effectively.