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Nuverra Environmental Solutions and the Energy & Environmental Research Center (EERC) recently hosted a tour of the BEST (Brine Extraction and Storage Test) facility in Watford City, North Dakota. Attendees included state lawmakers and industry stakeholders.

Treatment and handling of brine or “high total dissolved solids” waters associated with energy production can be challenging and not readily or economically accomplished using conventional water treatment techniques. These fluids are typically disposed of through geologic injection. The EERC and Nuverra have partnered with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to establish this BEST facility to research ways to not only improve the management of fluid injection (including produced water disposal and CO2 storage) but also to develop technologies to treat those produced waters for beneficial use as an alternative to injecting them into a disposal well. The facility provides a first-of-a-kind site to develop and test water treatment technologies. Ultimately, the results of this work may improve the management and performance of geologic CO2 storage and saltwater disposal, extend the life of injection wells, and provide new sources of water or value-added products for beneficial use. 

“We’re excited to be partnering with the EERC on this important project,” said Steve London, Vice President of Business Development at Nuverra. “This can lead to additional economical options for the industry in dealing with the wastewater by-product of oil and gas production. We are proud to lend our support to technologies that are environmentally sustainable.”

The EERC recently hosted DOE Fossil Energy Secretary Steven Winberg for a tour and discussion of the technology being tested at the BEST site. Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Office of Clean Coal and Carbon Management Lou Hrkman also toured the BEST site, along with North Dakota Lieutenant Governor Brent Sanford and U.S. Senator John Hoeven’s Regional Director for western North Dakota, Shari Buck.

“The work we are doing with the BEST project could have far-reaching benefits to North Dakota’s energy industry,” said John Hamling, EERC Assistant Director for Integrated Projects. “The public–private partnership—with support from organizations like Nuverra, DOE, and the EERC—is key to successfully executing integrated projects like the one being conducted at the BEST site.”

Entities interested in working with project partners to develop or demonstrate brine treatment technologies should contact the EERC at eercinfo@undeerc.org.