Podcast: STW’s Alan Murphy on producing, treating and transporting brackish water in dry Texas

Jan. 26, 2016

Highly brackish water can serve as a valuable water source with the right treatment technologies.

In a recent podcast, STW Water Process Technologies CEO and Chairman Alan Murphy discussed his company’s new project to deliver water to water-scarce regions in Texas. The company drills for water that is often highly brackish from the San Andres formation, which it then treats to a high level of water quality before transporting it to those in need of it.

The water in the formation is plentiful enough to cover Fort Stockton’s needs seven times and have enough water left for other areas as well. Murphy said the local political climate has become more supportive of projects like these recently, which is helping the effort get off the ground.

"People are starting to realize that they have no options but to look at long-term scenarios for water – long-term meaning 50 to 100 years – plans for how you’re going to provide water to these cities and for the industrial accounts," Murphy said. "And one of the best solutions they have is not more reservoirs, and not depending upon rain which we cannot control, but to look at the brackish and high brackish waters – as we call, alternative waters – that no one else has been going after because of the depth to drill, the cost to drill or maybe the cost to treat."

Because of the wide range of water quality variability, STW uses many treatment technologies to produce water pure enough for human consumption. These include:

  • Microporous hydrophilic media
  • Ceramic membrane
  • Advanced oxidation
  • Advanced reverse osmosis
  • Ultraviolet
  • Zero-liquid discharge

According to Murphy, with its current technologies and those it has in development and testing, STW is also working to take its projects to other drought-stricken areas such as California.

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