Garry Bush of Western FRACVAP displays a container of fracking fluid on Tuesday. Bush has developed a system that filters the contaminated water so that it can be reused or released into the air via an evaporation tower.

Garry Bush of Western FRACVAP displays a container of fracking fluid on Tuesday. Bush has developed a system that filters the contaminated water so that it can be reused or released into the air via an evaporation tower.

Cleanup of fracking fluids believed only months away

A Red Deer businessman thinks he’s a few months away from addressing one of the fracking industry’s most vexing problems.

By HARLEY RICHARDS

AA Red Deer businessman thinks he’s a few months away from addressing one of the fracking industry’s most vexing problems.

Garry Bush has been talking with several major energy companies about his FRACVAP system, which he said can clean water that’s been contaminated with sand, hydrocarbons and fracking chemicals.

“I’m hoping to get this started in a month,” he said of manufacturing.

“Half of this is already assembled down in Baltimore.”

Leading the project is Western FRACVAP, a division of Bush’s Tri-Pac Engineering, which specializes in using chilling systems to recover oil and gas vapours. Also involved is Maryland compressor company J.J. Crewe & Sons Inc.

Bush, who holds trade tickets in refrigeration, air-conditioning and gas-fitting, explained that the FRACVAP system involves a series of centrifugal, chemical, filtration and other processes — removing not only particulates and chemicals, but also residual crude oil. Adding ozone to the resulting water would render it safe to drink, he said, and it would certainly be suitable for reuse in fracking.

Another option would be to pump the processed water into evaporation towers. There, it would saturate the air while leaving any lingering impurities behind.

Regardless, the system would provide energy companies with a relatively cheap and more efficient way to deal with the large volumes of contaminated water that result from fracking.

Bush said his system will be able to process a cubic metre of water, or 1,000 litres, every minute.

What’s needed to transform FRACVAP from concept to reality is $250,000 to $300,000 from an industry partner to help fund the cost of construction.

Once that money is in place, Bush estimates that it will take less than two months to complete the fabrication work.

He said he’s received a positive response from energy company officials.

“It’s going to happen a lot faster than most people think,” he said of FRACVAP’s commercialization.

As more units are produced, they’ll be sold or rented out, said Bush. The selling price would be in the $800,000 range.

A pair of 50-foot trailers should be able to carry the system, he said, with a separate office unit also required.

Processed water could be stored in a large, transportable bladder, he said.

Two to four trained personnel would be needed to operate a FRACVAP unit, said Bush.

“They have to have knowledge in chemistry, they have to have knowledge in water separation, they have to have knowledge in the oil industry — and knowledge and ‘maintenancability’ to keep this thing operating.”

Bush is optimistic his system will have a huge impact on the oil and gas industry by addressing one of the more controversial environmental impacts of fracking.

“I’m going after the global market.”

Additional information about the FRACVAP system can be found online at www.westernfracvap.com.

hrichards@bprda.wpengine.com