Search all of DEQ Main Menu Utah Department of Environmental Quality
Secondary Navigation

Best Management Practices for the Oil and Gas Industry

Top Ten BMPs: #3 Conserve Water

  • Utilize central water treatment facilities.
  • Utilize on-site water treatment facilities, such as a 3-phase (liquids, condensate, and gas) separator on the flowback fluid to filter out heavy particulates so water can be reused. (See Case Study.)
  • Use carefully planned well completions.

Case Study: Ultra Resources

Ultra Resources, based out of Houston, Texas, is creating solutions for a cleaner, smarter, and more secure energy future by utilizing an on-site flowback processing unit. The flowback treatment process is able to provide a reliable supply of 100% recycled water for subsequent operations. The process is very important in an area of high activity where water volume and water quality are necessary for successful operations.

Ultra Resources


The flowback treatment process first utilizes a sand trap on the flowback fluid to capture heavy particulates (sand) so that the liquid phase can be sent to a 3-phase separator, where the liquids, condensate, and gas are segregated. The "water" is then sent through a series of 3 to 4 tear drop tanks that are used to settle out more particulates (light and heavy), while the condensate and gas are sent to a gathering facility. The tanks operate solely on a gravity/spillover feed. Flocculant and coagulant agents are added to the fluid stream ahead of the 1st tear drop tank to assist with the separation of particulates in the water. This on-site treatment system is capable of providing 2,000 bbls of recycled flowback water for reuse.

Environmental and Economic Benefits

  • Save money through operational efficiencies.
    • Water Hauling
    • Water Processing
    • Disposal
  • Reuse flowback fluids; reducing the amount of water needed from another source.
    • No Fresh Water Used Since 2007
  • Eliminate the use of reserve pits which are sources of VOC emissions and potential leaks into surface or groundwater.
    • Operations are closed loop; no pits.
    • Water is piped to and from the operation.
    • No flaring or venting.

Conserve Water

  1. Reduce Emissions During Drilling/Completions
  2. Reduce Emissions During Production
  3. Conserve Water
  4. Less Toxic Materials
  5. Reuse Materials
  6. High Efficiency Equipment
  7. Monitoring and Maintenance
  8. Dust and Tailpipe Emissions
  9. System Design
  10. Construction and Reclamation

Contact DEQ (801) 536-4000 for further information on the content of this page.