Encana broke ground today on a treatment facility for produced water -- the contaminated water that's pulled up along with oil in the drilling process. The Neptune Water Treatment Facility will sit outside of Casper and serve the Moneta Divide field, which currently has about 300 wells but could eventually have more than 4-thousand. The facility will treat some of the produced water from current wells. A controversial plan to inject wastewater into the Madison Aquifer is another water disposal method Encana plans to use in the field.
Encana’s Paul Ulrich says it will be the third largest reverse osmosis facility in the world.
“Once we run this produced water, which is low quality, through the Neptune water treatment facility, the water will meet or exceed drinking water standards. It’s as clean as you get from bottled water,” says Ulrich.
The facility will be able to process about 1 million gallons of water a day, 90-percent of which will be piped into the Boysen Reservoir. New facilities will be needed to handle Encana's plans to significantly expand the number of wells in the area. Neptune will come online in June, 2014.