Federal Government Releases Seismicity Report Studying Possible Federal Regulations
The attached comprehensive report (dated 1/13//23) on human-induced earthquakes from injection wells was prepared for the US Congress. Given the continued rise in the number and severity of these earthquakes, as well as their ability to cross state lines, the US Congress is considering more oversight: a.) amending the UIC program "to require consideration of induced seismicity"; b.) if the “federal government should have a role in regulating underground fluid injection activities"; and, c.) various other possible funding/regulatory options. EcoVAP is helping the oil/gas sector (and others) stay ahead of this increasing state - and possibly now federal - scrutiny by reducing the volume of produced water by over 90% using practically no energy or other operating cost: https://www.ecovap.com/case-studies/oil-gas-operation.
Tailings Pond Volumes Increasing with Lower Grade Ores
The world’s 29,000-35,000 active, inactive and abandoned tailings storage facilities (“TSFs”) contain approximately 534 billion cubic meters (~14 trillion gallons) of wastewater. With recent catastrophic failures, there is increasing regulatory scrutiny of TSF safety, but these efforts are challenged by ever-increasing amounts of TSF wastewater due to mining successively lower grades of ore (see article below) and also due to increased weather volatility. Hence, the number of TSF failures is expected to continue to increase. EcoVAP’s proven technology for evaporating this wastewater, thus reducing or practically eliminating the volume of wastewater at any TSF, can help reduce the operational cost and environmental risk of tailings wastewater disposal.
EcoVAP Solution for Coal Power Compliance with Coal Ash Rule
In November 2023, the environmental law group Earthjustice released a 212-page report on the difficulties of coal fired thermoelectric plants in complying with the Coal Ash Rule. The new report (an update from the initial 2019 report), estimates that "91% of coal plants are causing unsafe levels of groundwater contamination”, but also highlights many coal-fired power generators that have already or are planning to remedy these problems. With the ability to dewater tailings ponds, EcoVAP has proven its ability to provide a low cost, environmentally friendly means of dramatically remedying this challenge, with one client achieving an 85% reduction in land footprint and a 40% decrease in handling costs (see https://www.ecovap.com/case-studies/thermoelectric-power-plant).
40,000BBL Injection Well “Fountain” Leak Prompts Calls for EPA Regulatory Takeover
Ohio regulators are reviewing their role and laws for SWD injection wells following allegations of “chronic violations” and a “culture of permissiveness”. Ohio is one of the more SWD-friendly states, receiving and disposing of huge amounts of produced water from contiguous Pennsylvania, among others. However, a disastrous leak of an injection well into an oil well, two miles away, resulted in 40k barrels of toxic wastewater coming up thousands of feet to the surface in a “fountain", contaminating local land and streams. By reducing wastewater volumes by >90%, EcoVAP can practically eliminate the need to truck wastewater and greatly reduces the volume and required PSI for SWDs: www.EcoVAP.com.
Hurricane Ian's Long Term Environmental Damage Underscores the Value of EcoVAP’s Wastewater Elimination Ability
Following Florida’s hurricane Ian, the clean-up continues, but some contamination from overflowing wastewater storage and evaporation ponds is likely to lead to toxic soil and freshwater for years to come. Florida and much of the Southeast US have a difficult wastewater problem given a plethora of industries that need to dispose of toxic waste and wastewater (including phosphates and various mining, farming, livestock, paper, concrete, asphalt, metal and many other industries) vs. few safe means for disposal (i.e., few injection wells, and ocean dumping is illegal for most industries). Thus, the state relies on thousands of storage, treatment and evaporation ponds that overflow during torrential rains and with toxins that can be carried by winds for hundreds of miles. EcoVAP’s ability to reduce wastewater volume by >95%, without using practically any energy or land, is ideally suited to be a low-cost, environmentally-friendly means of reducing or eliminating these toxic ponds and lagoons. Despite Florida’s high humidity, EcoVAP has proven its ability to evaporate at >25x the normal rate even during the state’s cooler, humid months.
Unchecked Oil and Gas Wastewater Threatens California Groundwater
California is the only US state that still allows untreated oil and gas “produced water” to be dumped into unlined pits. This article details increasing evidence that produced water toxins are showing up in drinking water, including benzene levels that are 45x California’s legal limit. In total, the state produces 3bn barrels of produced water a year, adding to an existing 16 billion barrels of previously disposed water that continues to “percolate" into groundwater. EcoVAP operates a large facility in California, but in the mining sector (see Case Studies), and hopes to similarly dewater >95% of produced water.
US "Carpet Capital" Facing Legal Action for PFAS Disposal
Residents of Rome, Georgia are asking courts to halt dumping of upstream carpet dye wastewaters that cannot be treated by most traditional municipal sewage systems. Dalton Georgia produces ~90% of the US’ carpet, which is made out of synthetic fibers that are dyed with many “emerging contaminant” and difficult-to-treat chemicals. This water flows downstream to Rome after being semi-treated by plants that were never designed for these ultra-small contaminants. One such chemical is PFAS, thought to be a carcinogen, and which is very difficult to separate from wastewater due to its small size. Even when separated, this “forever chemical” can only be destroyed via an incinerator at ~1,800F. Some of these carpet companies have already settled with the plaintiffs, agreeing to send their water to a hazardous waste facility (see second article), presumably at much higher cost. EcoVAP’s ability to reduce this wastewater volume by >90% could dramatically reduce this cost.
EcoVAP Records Highest Evaporation Rate to Date, 63x Pan Rate, at BGNDRF Test Facility
OREM, Utah--(BUSINESS WIRE)--EcoVAP, Inc. is proud to announce the first results of a pilot-scale EcoVAP Evaporation Matrix at the Brackish Groundwater National Desalination Research Facility (“BGNDRF”) in Alamogordo, New Mexico. The project is being partly financed by the Bureau of Reclamation (“Reclamation”) based on EcoVAP winning a grant to dispose of excess brine water in the lowest cost and most environmentally-friendly way possible.
US Supreme Court Decision in Hawaii Has Broad Implications for Injection Well Disposal
A recent ruling by the US Supreme Court on the breadth of the Clean Water Act (1972) is expected to have significant precedent-setting implications for all wastewater injection wells. The Clean Water Act prohibits the polluting of water bodies beyond the pre-existing pollution level, and requires getting a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (“NPDES”) permit before disposing of wastewater. The law specifies that it applies to all direct and indirect water bodies that might be affected, with “indirect” being those that have a “significant nexus” or “navigable waters” from where the wastewater is disposed. Thus, injection wells, which mainly use underground holes and porous rock, were mostly exempt from this regulation. However, Justice Stephen Breyer argued that “navigable waters” should include the “indirect” contamination of seepage and flows from underground pathways, as is often the case, and thus that the “discharge of polluted water into the ground, rather than directly into nearby waterways, does not relieve an industry of complying with the Clean Water Act." Despite this decision being focused on a relatively small (Hawaii’s Maui Island) case, and on sewage (as opposed to many other wastewaters that use injection well disposal), the ruling is expected to have broad implications for all injection disposal including produced water (from oil/gas) and other mining and industrial wastewaters that are targeted by EcoVAP.