Wood pellets from Bald Eagle Pellet Co. are designed to absorb double their weight in wastewater.
Spill absorption products come in many different materials. Cellulose, beeswax, cotton, synthetics and crushed fossilized shells are just a few of the hundreds of materials proven to effectively absorb potentially hazardous liquids. Another one of these materials was on display at the 2016 Water & Wastewater Equipment, Treatment & Transport Show in the form of Premium Wood Pellets from Bald Eagle Pellet Co.
The pellets are 6 percent moisture content, and can absorb up to two times their weight in water. That means that a ton of wood pellets will absorb as much as 2 tons of liquid, or more than 482 gallons. According to company owner Aaron Reese, the pellets can be used in many applications across the wastewater and mining and gas industries.
“These pellets will absorb untreated wastewater, slurries, frac water, hydroexcavation waste and chemicals, essentially turning it into a solid,” he says. “They are made of 100 percent natural sawdust, so they are completely biodegradable and environmentally friendly.”
With hauling and disposal costs continuing to increase, especially for liquid waste, the pellets can be an effective cost-saving tool. Not only will their high absorption properties mean less freight and material for absorbent solidification is needed at the well site, less freight and material will be sent to the landfill from the well site.
“That cost savings is calculated by how much it costs to dispose of the liquid compared to a solid,” says Reese. “You’d be surprised by the large difference in price in some areas.”
The pellets can also be used for stabilization of hazardous and contaminated demolition material and site reclamation. They are compressed to half size in a high-density pellet, so that 1 ton of pellets fits into an easy-to-move super sack bag that comes on a standard 42- by 48-inch pallet. The pellets are made from virgin-use wood fiber, not refuse, waste material, or reclaimed house or pellet debris, guaranteeing they will be accepted at any landfill. Reese says the pellets are ideal for water-based spill cleanup in the oil and gas industry, but the downturn in oil production in North America has caused him to study other potential applications for the pellets. He was able to speak with several WWETT Show attendees who provided answers he hadn’t even thought of.
“I spoke with a landfill operator from the Bahamas who sees these pellets as a potential solution to their leaching issues,” says Reese. “I talked with others that said the pellets would be a fit for absorbing liquids laced with phosphorus and nitrogen before it hits lakes and rivers. There’s also obvious uses in hauling wastewater from grease traps and car wash traps.
There’s just fewer gas rigs to sell to right now, so we have to diversify.”
Reese pointed out that the pellets are not a byproduct, as they are manufactured daily from an abundant wood fiber product provided by Pennsylvania’s large timber industry. The company also produces a fine sawdust “wood flour” that can be used to effectively clean oil-based spills.
“They are made of genuine Pennsylvania virgin timber sawdust,” he says. “There is nothing in the pellets that can harm the environment in any way. That’s one of the cornerstones we really pride ourselves on.”
Reese says his goal coming into the WWETT Show was to first introduce himself and his product to the wastewater treatment market, and second to gauge where his pellets could potentially fit in the industry. He’s excited to expand on the possibilities his pellets have in wastewater.
“This has been a very good show, and has given me a lot of ideas on what markets we can target going forward,” he says. “There is a lot of enthusiasm from the attendees here, and they enjoy talking about what they do and what they need to do it better. I’ve loved being a part of it.” 814/329-2482; www.baldeaglepellet.com.