Firm demonstrates new treatment system for frack water

Kelly Sloan
Kelly Sloan

Kelly Sloan, The Business Times

A California-based company has joined with a Delta manufacturer to produce a new system to treat water used in oil and natural gas production.

Origin Oil demonstrated what’s branded as the CLEAN-FRAC 1000 system at Industrial Systems Inc. (ISI) in Delta. The system is designed to treat up to 1,000 barrels a day of flowback from hydraulic fracturing along with  produced water from well operations.

“This is a huge milestone for Origin Oil,” said Riggs Eckelberry, chief executive officer of the Los Angeles-based company. “This is the fruition of a couple of years of development of our frack flowback and produced water cleanup system.”

The system grew out of other work in which the company is involved to harvest algae on a large-scale basis, Eckelberry said.

Bob Isom, CEO of ISI, said the deal to manufacture the system as a licensee of Origin Oil means growth for his company. “It is exciting to be on the cutting edge of something new.”

The CLEAN-FRAC system uses an Electro Water Separation process in which a cathode and anode is placed in the water and an electrical current is introduced. This causes the hydrocarbons and suspended solids in the water to coagulate and rise to the surface, where they are skimmed off. 

Company officials said the system removes 99 percent of dispersed oil and 99.5 percent of suspended solids. The water is then ready to be used in other fracturing jobs or for additional treatment to whatever standard an end user might require, up to and including drinking water. 

For the demonstration in Delta, Origin Oil brought in a micro-filtration unit from TriSep, a marketing partner, to show how water leaving the Electro Water Separation unit could be further treated to end-user specifications.

Isom, who has operated ISI in Delta for 23 years, said the venture with Origin Oil started through a mutual acquaintance who brought him together with Eckelberry to discuss a potential partnership.

Isom said he was impressed with the Origin Oil water treatment system and how it could fit in with the other products ISM manufactures. “We thought it would be a great fit.”

ISI makes large, portable tanks for the energy industry capable of holding up to 53,000 barrels, or 2.2 million gallons, of water. 

The partnership between Origin Oil and ISI constitutes an encouraging development in an area that’s yet to fully recover from the recession and closure of nearby coal mining operations.

Delta County Commissioner Doug Atchley attended the demonstration and praised the business opportunity. “We have two main industries in this area — agriculture and energy. This has the potential to create jobs and helps to accommodate a growing population,” Atchley said. “I’m excited for the jobs this will bring.”

Isom confirmed the deal will create jobs. “We will be hiring and training more folks in specialty type positions, from electrical to welding to design and technology.”