Produced Water Discharge

A sustainable alternative to disposal

Today, upwards of 70% of all produced water generated in upstream oil and gas is disposed of by injection into saltwater disposal (SWD) wells. However, as operators have come under greater pressure to reduce the environmental impact of their production activities, it's necessary to minimize SWD injection volumes. Treatment of produced water for discharge provides an attractive alternative solution for disposal of produced water. 

Produced water discharge solutions enable upstream operators to minimize liquid waste injection volumes and optimize field development by lowering the risk of overwhelming SWD well capacity. 

But safely treating produced water so that it can be discharged into the surrounding ecosystem does not come without challenges. Tightening environmental regulations, coupled with the need to maintain low capital and operating costs means that operators need an experienced produced water treatment partner they can trust.

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How Veolia can help

Veolia offers a broad range of treatment solutions and service models to help oil and gas producers safely and cost-effectively discharge their produced water into local watersheds

Regardless of whether the water is being used for fracking, steamflooding or enhanced oil recovery (EOR), we can provide a tailored treatment solution to meet your discharge or reuse objectives. Our patented technologies can help meet EPA National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) threshold limits by removing constituents.

Treatment of produced water for discharge requires:

  • removal particulates (oil, TSS) 
  • scale formers (hardness, iron, barium)
  • dissolved salts (TDS, sodium, chloride, boron) 
  • dissolved gases (ammonia, VOCs, H2S) 

Depending on the produced water quality, Veolia can offer customized treatment solutions involving membrane (Reverse Osmosis) or thermal (Evaporator, Crystallizer) based desalination solutions with necessary pretreatment and post-treatment process for compliance with the local environmental regulations for discharge. 

Our technology solutions can be offered in flexible commercial models either as a project -financed turnkey service solution ($/barrel) or customer-owned facility.  Both models are offered with long term operation and maintenance services, including performance guarantees, depending on operator requirements.


Benefits of produced water discharge

Engaging with an experienced service treatment provider like Veolia to implement a produced water discharge solution can yield wide-ranging benefits for oil and gas operators. 

Key benefits of treatment of Produced Water for discharge include:

  • Minimize salt water disposal well injection volumes
  • Minimize induced seismicity and its impacts
  • Minimize truck traffic and associated carbon emissions
  • Minimize dependency on SWD for produced water disposal
  • Recover valuable by-products from produced water
  • Generate effluent in compliance NPDES discharge standards
  • Generate effluent potentially suitable for irrigation, agriculture and beneficial use
  • An environmentally sustainable solution for water management
  • A reliable alternate solution for disposal with high certainty and availability
  • Improve field development by eliminating production bottlenecks caused by exhaustion of SWD well capacity
  • Reduce water disposal and frack completion costs
  • Increase operational flexibility in water-stressed areas, like California, West Texas, and New Mexico


Veolia is uniquely positioned to service industry, government and commercial entities in improving performance, managing water, waste and energy.
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