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Pretreatment Techniques for Produced Water with Subsequent Forward Osmosis Remediation

Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, The University of Texas at Arlington, 700 Planetarium Place, Arlington, TX 76019, USA
Collaborative Laboratories for Environmental Analysis and Remediation, The University of Texas at Arlington, Arlington, TX 76019, USA
Inform Environmental, LLC, 6060 N. Central Expressway, Suite 500, Dallas, TX 75206, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Water 2019, 11(7), 1437;
Received: 28 May 2019 / Revised: 6 July 2019 / Accepted: 8 July 2019 / Published: 12 July 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Novel Forward Osmotic Process for Seawater and Wastewater Treatment)
PDF [1133 KB, uploaded 12 July 2019]


Unconventional oil and gas extraction is on the rise across the United States and comprises an integral component in meeting the nation’s energy needs. The primary by-product of this industrious process is produced water, which is a challenging matrix to remediate because of its complex physical and chemical composition. Forward osmosis is a viable option to treat high-salinity produced water; however, fouling has been an issue. This study aimed to treat produced water before using forward osmosis as a remediation option. Trials consisted of a series of five experiments in order to evaluate the performance of the membrane. Samples were treated by centrifugation, activated carbon, filtration, ferric chloride, as well as coagulants and a polymer. It can be concluded that forward osmosis can be used to extract water from high-salinity oil field brines and produced water, and that pretreating the produced water decreased the tendency for fouling. The pretreatment with the overall best performance was activated carbon, which also yielded the lowest total organic carbon concentrations of 1.9 mg/L. During remediation trials using produced water pretreated with activated carbon as the feed solution, there was a 14% decrease in flux over the course of the 7 h trials. The membrane performance was restored after washing. View Full-Text
Keywords: oilfield wastewater; hydraulic fracturing; flowback water; unconventional oil and gas development oilfield wastewater; hydraulic fracturing; flowback water; unconventional oil and gas development

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Liden, T.; Hildenbrand, Z.L.; Schug, K.A. Pretreatment Techniques for Produced Water with Subsequent Forward Osmosis Remediation. Water 2019, 11, 1437.

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