First merchant facility in CA to treat produced water for beneficial reuse opens

March 16, 2017
Sweetwater Tech Resources begins operation of project with Water Planet Technology. 

LOS ANGELES, MARCH 14, 2017 -- Water Planet's IntelliFlux control software is being deployed at California's first merchant facility set up to treat oil and gas produced water for beneficial reuse. Operated by Sweetwater Tech Resources (STR), this regional water treatment facility gives local oil and gas producers a reliable, economic and sustainable option for converting billions of gallons of produced water annually into clean water streams available for beneficial reuse. It is located in Wasco, a town centrally located around multiple active oil fields surrounding Bakersfield.

Because the wastewater can be treated for reuse, oil producers now have a cost-competitive option to trucking it to third party disposal wells. The project also yields significant environmental benefits not only by reducing the amount of water disposed of but also by producing more water that can be reused to help fill the demand of local agricultural and industrial water consumers.

The facility started up in January at over 25,000 gallons of water per day under a temporary operating permit, and will rapidly scale to 420,000 gallons per day after the final permit is approved. Ultimately, Sweetwater plans to run multiple water recycling facilities in the Bakersfield area treating up to 4 million gallons per day.

The project utilizes Water Planet's breakthrough artificial intelligence based self-adaptive flux optimization control software, IntelliFlux®, which is an ideal solution for this facility that treats produced waters from multiple oil and gas companies operating in different geological formations. These waters vary so widely in concentrations of salts, minerals, suspended solids, oil and dissolved hydrocarbons that until now, the only way to handle them has been disposal by deep well injection or retention in surface impoundments. The smart IntelliFlux technology has changed the paradigm and now enables these radically different waters to be cleaned up reliably and affordably.

Water Planet and Sweetwater originally demonstrated the facility to local governmental regulators and oil producers during the spring of 2016 to provide assurance to all parties regarding the technical feasibility and assurances regarding the treated water quality.

"This facility is just the first step in providing a new, more sustainable solution for produced water management. Why waste a valuable water resource by injecting it deep in the earth where it is lost forever? Water reuse is the future, and this installation can serves as a model to be replicated in other water-stressed oil and gas producing regions around the world," said Eric Hoek, Water Planet's CEO.

Dundee Kelbel, President of Sweetwater Tech Resources, said, "Deep well injection disposal of produced water is going to be a thing of the past." Kelbel also said that ponds for disposal of produced water are coming under more scrutiny. "This facility will process nearly a half million gallons of water per day. It's a drop in the bucket for the California oil and gas industry, but this project gives us a stepping stone to build upon towards future water sustainability," he noted.

For this project, Water Planet devised a first-of-its-kind system consisting of a multidisciplinary treatment train designed to remove several contaminants of concern including suspended solids, free oil & grease, dissolved organics, salts and minerals, including boron.

Hoek added, "The key is our AI-based IntelliFlux controls; most of the system consists of off-the-shelf softening, filtration and desalination technologies. However, the uniqueness is that this system can reliably accept a wide range of influent water qualities while producing a consistent effluent water quality and at a cost that makes sense."

Produced water is water that comes out of the ground when oil and gas are extracted, often in quantities that dwarf the relative amounts of hydrocarbons produced.

About Sweetwater Tech Resources, LLC ("STR")
Based in Tucson, AZ and Wasco, CA, STR is a management services company that develops go-to-market strategies for projects that deliver industrial wastewater treatment and reuse systems. STR has focused on sustainable "produced water" solutions that are environmentally diligent, meet the strictest regulatory requirements and establish renewable resources.

About Water Planet
Based in Los Angeles, California, Water Planet ( sells the world's first smart membrane products, which enable the most reliable and cost-effective approach to industrial water reuse. PolyCera® robust & easy-to-clean ultrafiltration membranes and IntelliFlux® self-adaptive flux optimization for ultrafiltration membranes mean more water and less cost.

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