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Comment Water Treatment

A process to treat tight emulsions and intractable oily wastes

By Gerald Ondrey |

Spent invert drilling fluids, slop oil, rag layers, and tank bottoms often present as very tight emulsions having high brine and solids fractions that render them difficult and economically unfeasible to break and separate by traditional means, says Ron Drake, CEO at Drake Water Technologies, Inc. (DWT; Helena, Mont.; www.drakewater.com). Conventional demulsification schemes using heater-treaters, demulsifying chemicals, electrostatic grids, centrifuges, and so on often exhibit limited separation efficiency and merely produce a more concentrated and intractable residue requiring stabilization, transport and landfill disposal, explains Drake. Likewise, high moisture and solids content of tight emulsions greatly reduces throughput and organic recovery when they are subject to thermal desorption, he adds. To overcome these problems, DWT has developed a single-load, high-throughput, mobile treatment system to provide complete, on-site, resource recovery and disposal of pumpable emulsions and oily wastes. In the process (flowsheet), a recirculating stream of feed emulsion is heated at moderate pressure (15–30 psig) and flashed to produce a mixed vapor stream of light organic compounds and water. The mixed vapor stream is condensed and…
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