Production and Frac Water Management

Materials develop during the exploration and production of gas, oil, and coal-bed methane (CBM), including millions of barrels of produced and frac flowback water and hydrocarbon-impacted soils and muds. If the natural fracture of shale is not fully developed, then the shale is further opened by hydro-fracturing (fracking) to assist with the release of gas and oil. The cleats are opened up with a frac-water mixture injected into the formation at various locations within the seam.

frac water
Evaporation Pond with Drip Legs

Produced water and flowback water are generated from the CBM, shale gas, and shale oil wells. Produced water is water that is withdrawn from the coal seam and shale through the wells drilled into the coal seam and shale during the gas/oil collection at the surface.

Flowback water is used to fracture shale in order to open the fissures that enable the release of the gas from the formation if the natural fissures are not fully developed. This water is pumped into the formation and then eventually collected at the surface in a manner similar to the collection of the produced water.

SCS Engineers employs several technologies to reuse (preferred) or dispose of production and flowback water, including:

  • Reuse of the water after treatment as “Frac” injection of the treated water back down into the production zone formation to enhance production.
  • Disposal injection back into the ground at a different formation than the production zone.
  • Evaporation in semi-arid and arid climates (usually limited to sunny and windy western states with low humidity, and where state law allows). This is usually the least costly method for disposal, however, it does require adequate land area.
  • Treatment for surface discharge or reuse not for production (most expensive method).

SCS Engineers’ services include site investigation, permitting, design, construction quality assurance, and certification of surface water storage impoundments, evaporation ponds, and injection wells.


Recover and SCS Engineers Team on Sustainable Drilling Waste to Fuel Solution in the Permian Basin

Sustainable Recovery and Reuse of Oil-Based Muds and Drilling Waste