Report: Innovative Process Can Reduce Wastewater from Energy Production

Vancouver, BC – June 21, 2022 - A new report published by Geoscience BC outlines a new process to treat saline wastewater from natural gas production that can be used to reduce wastewater volumes, emissions and transport.

The final report from the Saltworks Airbreather Pilot project assesses a process that uses heat generated during natural gas production to reduce the volume of highly saline wastewater (brines),  while also producing either clean water or water vapour for more economic and environmentally safe disposal.

Using brines shipped to Richmond, British Columbia, from Montney Play producing gas wells in the Northeast Region, the Saltworks Technologies Inc. team used an evaporation technology known as air humidification-dehumidification. The results of their work demonstrate that the technology can produce industrial-quality solid salt, and water that meets aquatic life water quality regulations. Their results also show that the level of sulphate compounds in the brines can affect the ability for the salt to meet quality requirements for industrial applications such as road salt.

The report recommends the technology is best suited to producing concentrated brine solutions that could limit the volume of water to be disposed of, while a vacuum evaporative crystallizer technology would be better suited to removing the water altogether, known as “Zero Liquid Discharge”.

Geoscience BC Manager, Energy and Water Randy Hughes said: "Innovative technologies that can positively impact wastewater treatment and disposal methods in BC’s Northeast Region will be important in supporting Canada’s move towards its net-zero targets. The Saltworks Airbreather Pilot project helps improve the understanding of produced brines and the technology needed to treat them.”

The project was co-funded by Geoscience BC and NGIF Industry Grants, a division of NGIF Capital Corporation.

“Saltworks’ Airbreather is an inventive evaporation alternative that is designed to garner positive environmental results,” said John Adams, President and CEO of NGIF Capital Corporation. He added that “NGIF is proud to support Saltworks in the development of this technology and is optimistic for the positive results it would have for the natural gas producers.”

Accessing information

To view the reports and maps, visit the project page or view the information on Geoscience BC's Earth Science Viewer online mapping application.


View project page          View project in Earth Science Viewer

About Geoscience BC

Geoscience BC generates independent, public geoscience research and data about British Columbia’s minerals, energy and water resources. This advances knowledge, informs responsible development, encourages investment and stimulates innovation.

Our collaboration with the resource sectors, academia, communities, Indigenous groups and government develops and shares unbiased and credible earth science research and data.

Geoscience BC is a not-for-profit society incorporated under the BC Societies Act. Visit or follow us @GeoscienceBC to find out more and join Geoscience BC as a member.

For more information, please contact:
Richard Truman
Geoscience BC
604-662-4147 / 778-929-1662