JMC Engineering (JMC) has been involved in developing systems to treat polluted water since its early involvement in the mine closure program in the United Kingdom. JMC recognizes the impact polluted water has on the environment and its surrounding communities and has become actively involved in providing solutions.
JMC has been involved in many projects across the USA whilst operating from the UK. When doing so, JMC became aware of the issues surrounding the water that was being produced in oil and gas fields, particularly in the Wyoming and Montana Powder River Basin area.
In October of 2003 the US Supreme Court declined to review a previous Appeals Court ruling and established that Coalbed Methane (CBM) water is a “pollutant” and subject to regulation.
WORKING WITH LOCAL AUTHORITIES
JMC realizes the need to work closely with Federal and local authorities when designing a system to treat polluted water. It is aware that, without doing so, the correct system cannot be designed the o meet all necessary criteria. JMC has worked closely with the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to ensure all issues are taken care of by proposed treatment systems.
The demand for energy and Coalbed Methane (CBM) or Natural Gas has risen dramatically. With the environmental issues surrounding existing methods of producing energy, reliance upon natural gas is projected to greatly increase by the year 2025. The resulting CBM production increase suggests a greater production of contaminated water and it is estimated that, in the Powder River Basin, this figure could be as great as 125 billion gallons per year.
The produced water must meet EPA guidelines. Specifically, each outfall is regulated by an NPDES (National Pollution Discharge Elimination System) permit and the DEQ.
The CBM produced water constituents include high sodium (Na) content or high sodium absorption ratio (SAR) values. The SAR is a measurement of Sodium in relation to Calcium and Magnesium in the water. The CBM water also contains ammonia, fluorides, chlorides and sulphates that need to be addressed.
The Electrical Conductivity (EC) level is also an issue and needs to be reduced in certain locations. These are only some of the difficulties facing Oil and Gas producers when discharging water.
JMC considered the use of several systems to address these, and other, issues but it was decided that the most efficient, and cost-effective, system would include reverse osmosis (RO) combined with other technology. This conclusion was based on ongoing costs associated with running a treatment facility, mobility of such units and the ‘footprint’ of the site. At a time when consideration must be given to landowners and environmentalist organisations, JMC takes every step to ensure responsible development practices are followed.
Every consideration has also been given to the effects of discharging the treated water into the nearest river. JMC utilizes the knowledge of the BLM, and other groups, to ensure that existing wildlife and marine life are not harmed.
JMC is aware that it is not just regulatory authorities that can delay a client’s operation plans and attempts to deal with all other pitfalls prior to start up.
With every water treatment facility, there will be a waste stream that cannot be discharged openly or bottled. However, JMC is confident that the efficiency of its systems will reduce such a waste stream to a minimum. This waste water is just as important a component to JMC when it is formulating proposals for its clients. The most favoured disposal method for this waste water is deep well injection. This method ensures that the waste water does not come into contact with farmland or drinking water supplies.
JMC works with experts in this field to ensure that the cost to the client is minimal and enable them to produce Coalbed Methane or oil without it having a dramatic effect on end prices.
In addition to Oil and CBM water treatment systems, JMC offers services to engineer, procure and construct water bottling plants. Again, working with the relevant authorities, including but not limited to the EPA and the Food & Drug Administration (FDA), JMC is able to offer expert advice in this field and ensure a fully compliant facility.
Utilizing excellent local laboratories, JMC can have samples of a water source analysed and assessed for bottling capabilities. Once this is determined, the location is thoroughly inspected for feasibility of constructing such a facility whilst marketing research is carried out to ensure that the client has an end user.