New company to recycle oilfield waste
News Article Sponsored by Patriot Environmental Services
Cars packed the 2700 block of U.S. Highway 183 in front of DeWitt Recyclable Products, a new company that will fully recycle oil field waste at its 8-acre facility.
The site, which partner David Elks said will open by the end of May, will be able to process up to 900 tons of oil field waste daily. When the site is fully operational, he hopes to have 40 employees run it.
Wednesday, the focus was to educate the public about the purpose of the site.
“What we do here is all of the waste gets recycled; nothing goes in the ground,” he said. “We extract all the oil out of the drill cuttings and turn around and make salable products out of it.”
Elks pointed to the legal issues that have beset a waste disposal site proposed by San Antonio-based Pyote Reclamation Systems that would be near Nordheim. The community has fought against Pyote’s waste disposal site for more than three years.
But unlike the Nordheim site, which will be used to store waste, DeWitt Recyclable’s Cuero site will fully process all of the waste brought in. Oil will be separated and sold, while solids, such as drill cuttings and mud, will be fully processed and cleaned of waste.
Four monitoring wells installed on the site will be checked by a third-party every three months to detect and react to any spills, Elks said.
The cleaning process will turn the solid waste, which are drilling cuttings and mud, into dirt. The material can be sold to other landfills to mix with oil field waste materials that are brought to their garbage dumps, Elks said.
Water taken from the waste will be used to wash out the trailers that bring the waste in, while excess water will be pumped into a disposal well a few miles north of the site, Elks said.
Millions of dollars have been spent on the site, which has been under development since 2012, Elks said. A lengthy process surrounded the required Texas Railroad Commission permit. Elks said every amendment pushed the process back by months.
When the company received its permit, there were only 24 such permits in the state. That number may have increased to near 30 by now, Elks said. But few allow for any and all oil field waste.
DeWitt Recyclable takes the risk for the waste away from the generating companies because they are destroying the waste and creating a salable or disposable product, Elks said.
“If (the oil companies) put it in a landfill they are liable for that waste forever,” he said. “It doesn’t matter, and so for the longevity of the companies, they have a risk, always.”
Elks claimed the recycling does not cost more than disposal in a landfill, and the removal of the liability is a value in of itself.
“Even at home, if you’ve got two trash cans on the street and one says ‘recycling materials’ and one says ‘trash,’ so why wouldn’t you put your recycling stuff in?” Elks said. “It doesn’t cost you anything. It doesn’t cost you more.”
The property is valued at more than $360,000, according to the DeWitt County Appraisal District.
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