Produced Water: Understanding Fracture Fluid
A Closer Look at the Fluid Utilized in Hydraulic Fracturing
Fracture fluid is used during hydraulic fracturing to create thin hairline fissures in shale rock, through which natural oil and gas can be extracted. This fluid is often a mixture of water, sand and additives specially formulated to keep the cracks open and to transport the proppant successfully. Eventually, this fluid makes its way back to the surface, bringing several contaminants with it. From there, it can be either recycled with the help of filtration equipment from M.W. Watermark™, or disposed of in an environmentally safe way.
Composition of Fracture Fluid
While the composition of fracture fluid may vary based on the characteristics of the formation, objectives and other factors, it’s typically made of 99% water and sand. The sand helps keep the cracks open. However, it’s also important to keep the wellbore lubricated during this process so that components are pumped to the surface faster, so additional chemicals are added to the mix for enhanced viscosity. Common additives include guar gum, which helps thicken the water to suspend the sand, and surfactant, which is similar to dish soap.
In some cases, unconventional fracturing fluid may be used, such as non-aqueous systems that are oil-based or methanol-based. Every component of the fluid mixture is selected to maximize productivity of the specific hydraulic fracturing operation.
Flowback and Produced Fracture Fluid
While some of the fracture fluid gets absorbed into the rock, about 20-40% of it returns to the surface. It may carry minerals, salt, residue and other contaminants from the ground – in addition to the original fluid additives – with it. When this occurs, the fluid is considered produced water. On any given fracking operation, there can be thousands of gallons of this produced water that companies have to manage. At this point, a filter press can be used to help separate solids from the water so that it can be reused.
Get Custom-Built Fracking Filtration Equipment
When mining and fracking companies require special filtration equipment to keep their operations clean and efficient, they turn to M.W. Watermark. We specialize in providing custom wastewater treatment solutions, such as filter presses, to suit your specific application. Contact us today to request a quote.
About M.W. Watermark
M.W. WATERMARK wants to make a difference. We are passionate about the world’s water. We are innovative, focused on customer service and always try to exceed expectations. We are an environmentally conscious company with people who are energized, encouraged and inspired to make a difference on our planet by helping to keep our shared, finite water supply clean and usable for generations to come. We build amazing, custom water and wastewater treatment equipment. Together, we can make a difference.
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