• Purified water used for re-use by city of Farmington
ALBUQUERQUE, NM, July 30, 2007 -- Altela Inc., a leading desalination technology and service company, has received U.S. EPA-based approval for the first-of-its-kind centralized produced water treatment facility. The new facility is located at a gas well operated by Merrion Oil and Gas Corporation, a Farmington, New Mexico-based oil and gas exploration and production company.
The industrial waste discharge permit allows Altela Inc. to operate its recently patented AltelaRainSM System at the Treatment Facility in Farmington New Mexico. The AltelaRainSM water purification system is a new U.S. technology that inexpensively removes 100 percent of the dissolved salts and other contaminants from polluted water, such as 'produced water' -- brackish water that is co-produced with oil and gas extraction.
The Farmington system has been in operation by Altela since March, and is desalinating and decontaminating highly challenged produced water from gas wells within the San Juan Basin. Following treatment, the purified water is returned for free to the city of Farmington for valuable water right return flow credits and aquifer recharge. The system is a simple, elegant solution to a highly complex, expensive problem in the oil and gas industry.
"Nowhere is there both a greater need and opportunity for the development and adoption of innovative water supply technologies than in the field of produced water from the oil and natural gas industry," said Ned Godshall, CEO of Altela. "We are excited about this EPA approval and how this will help us spread the message that our new technology can turn waste into precious water, especially in the arid west. It makes no sense to continue to dispose of this waste water down injection wells, if instead we can treat it for less and make it available for re-use."
Godshall said that currently thousands of acre-feet of produced water are re-injected deep into the ground, never to be used again, simply because no technology has been available to desalinate this water economically. One AltelaRain system is capable of processing 4,000 gallons (~100 barrels) per day, with salt concentration up to 150,000 ppm (15 percent). The Altela system produces extremely high quality water at a low operating and maintenance cost.
In addition to cleaning the water and giving it to the city of Farmington for re-use, an added bonus is that there are far fewer water-hauling trucks moving through the city to underground reinjection sites outside the city limits, because nine out of every ten truckloads are now eliminated -- thereby increasing traffic safety and reducing road maintenance.
The Farmington Treatment Facility originated as a State of New Mexico demonstration project sponsored by Governor Bill Richardson. The goal of the successful demonstration project was to research and identify solutions for communities throughout the state of New Mexico where treatment of produced water from oil and natural gas wells could be utilized for re-use, such as in municipal, agricultural or aquifer recharge uses.
"Merrion is proud to contribute to this environmental 'win-win' solution at our Blackshawl site," said T. Greg Merrion, president of Merrion Oil and Gas Corporation. "This new technology lowers our costs, while at the same time creating a new water supply in New Mexico and decreasing waste that must be hauled away and disposed of. By decreasing the cost of water disposal, this Altela process will also make these gas wells last longer, so it also increases domestic U.S. energy reserves in addition to creating a new supply of water in NM."
"We are excited about the possibilities this technology holds for Farmington and the Four Corners Basin," said Michael Sullivan, Director, Community Development Department in Farmington. "This is a New Mexico-grown technology that has potential for great economic development for our state, at the same time solving a crucial problem for our future."
Located in the picturesque San Juan River Valley, the city of Farmington, New Mexico (pop. 41,000) is the largest city in the Four Corners area. The city was incorporated in 1901 and is home to vibrant oil, gas and mining industries as well as a regional retail hub. The Four Corners region is the traditional homeland of a number of Native American Tribes, including the Navajo, Jicarilla Apache, Ute Mountain Ute, Southern Ute and Hopi nations. The Navajo Reservation borders Farmington at its west and southwest limits, and contributes culturally and economically to the community.
Merrion Oil and Gas Corporation is a Farmington, New Mexico-based independent energy company engaged in the exploration for, and the acquisition, development, and production of natural gas and crude oil.
Altela has licensed and developed a fundamentally new water desalination product, the AltelaRainSM system, that inexpensively removes 100 percent of the dissolved salts and other contaminants from industrial waste waters and undrinkable brackish waters found throughout the world -- representing the first new low-cost water desalination technology in the last 50 years. The company has assembled a strong intellectual property position and experienced management team and Board of Directors. By removing all contaminants from highly challenged wastewater and brine streams, Altela converts these contaminated water liabilities into clean water assets, thereby removing our customer's high treatment and disposal costs and environmental liability. Altela turns waste into water.