By: RK Energy

The process of oil and gas production creates millions of gallons of hazardous brine, also known as salt water, every day. This salt water contains various chemicals for extracting impurities out of the oil and gas and has an extremely high salt content, making it dangerous. As the purified oil and gas are brought to the surface during production, salt water is left behind and must be safely discarded.

Companies will often recycle the salt water first by injecting it back into the cistern to continue gathering any remaining oil or gas. Once finished, the salt water must be carefully discarded at a nearby salt water well disposal site or trucked to a well, which can be costly.

A salt water disposal well is a deep disposal site created specifically for the salt water byproduct of oil and gas production. The pipe leading to the well, which can be over a mile in depth, is encased in steel and surrounded by a protective cement layer to ensure containment. These extra protections are in place to ensure that the salt water doesn’t seep out and pollute the land, groundwater or other nearby water resources. Salt water disposal wells can be continually used for up to 15 years and are sealed off upon reaching capacity.

Prior to the 1970s, the oil and gas salt water byproduct was disposed of in whatever manner was cheapest. This meant that it was often released directly on the ground, leaving land riddled with salt scars as well as contaminating both surface water and groundwater.

Regulations for the disposal of salt water vary by state, but the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) now monitors the disposal of this substance closely. The Safe Water Drinking Act requires the EPA to maintain minimal federal requirements for the practice of salt water disposal and regularly report on them to ensure that surrounding land and water remains safe.

RK Energy specializes in custom solutions and field support services that are expertly engineered for the unique needs of the oil and gas industry. We build custom salt water disposal skids, like the one pictured, to fit each of our client’s specific needs. At RK Energy, we use advanced engineering, preconstruction services and CAD modeling for precision planning that streamlines the design and install of field site facilities and equipment.