Treatment of Produced Waters by Ultrafiltration

S. M. Santos and M. R. Wiesner


Produced water from gas and oil operations is purportedly the largest single source of waste generated in the United States with an annual production rate of over 3 billion tons. Results are presented from bench scale pilot tests of membrane ultrafiltration of produced waters obtained from three operating oil and gas wells. Ultrafiltration reduced concentrations of grease and oil in the three produced waters evaluated in this work to well below current and anticipated regulatory limits. Permeation flux varied greatly from one produced water to another. Because membrane cost is greatly influenced by permeate flux, generalizations regarding the economic or technical feasibility of UF treatment of produced water based on the limited number of laboratory and field tests performed to date do not appear to be warranted.

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