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Polar Bear Water Treatment has taken many steps to incorporate controls that prevent groundwater pollution. The Freeze-Thaw/Evaporation Process that is used to treat wastewater relies heavily on naturally occurring conditions in the arid Rocky Mountain region and Canada to freeze and desalinate the water, as well as to support the evaporative processes.   The technique that is used to prevent groundwater seepage includes installation of a leak detection and collection system, compaction, an HDPE liner, gravel, and a second HDPE liner. Site location, on a bluff overlooking I-80 west of Rawlins, WY,  also limits the likelihood of groundwater pollution.  In addition, monitoring wells are located throughout the facility property and are checked daily to ensure that water has not escaped from the ponds.

Pond Liners Are Stacked at the Polar Bear Water Treatment FTE® Facility During Construction in early 2012

Polar Bear Water Treatment monitors the air quality at the water disposal facility, and regularly collects data from the separation ponds to ensure that all emissions are controlled at safe levels.  The separation ponds at the facility are covered with a 20 mil HDPE cover to limit the emissions and prevent the entry of migratory birds, and are skimmed whenever hydrocarbon residue appears on the surface.  

Odor is controlled at the facility in several ways.  The oil water separators and separation ponds serve to remove residual organics and reduce emission of volatile organic compounds.  The spray systems on each pond serve to increase the dissolved oxygen concentration in the water in the ponds, thereby reducing the potential for anaerobic microbiological reactions and the potential for noxious odors.

At Polar Bear Water Treatment FTE® Facility, the Separation Ponds Are Monitored Daily To Collect Air Emission Data (Photo of Wamsutter FTE® Facility Courtesy of Crystal Solutions, LLC).

Caring for the Land and Wildlife

The technology employed at the Polar Bear Water Treatment FTE® Facility capitalizes on the naturally dry climate found in the Rockies and Canada to evaporate a significant portion of the water brought to the facility for disposal, and an enhanced spray system is utilized to increase evaporation when weather conditions are favorable. Plant operators are on site during all operational hours to monitor weather conditions and to ensure that sprayed water is contained within the boundaries of the ponds.  Careful monitoring helps to prevent overspray and salt scarring.  Wildlife and livestock are fenced out to prevent their entry into the facility.