Drilling by-products are produced as a result of drilling wells and comprise of a mixture of drilling fluids, mud and solids. Typically, these muds and fluids are transported from mine sites in vacuum tankers and sent to a special facility to be processed. This method uses up time and resources, with the transport adding to the environmental carbon footprint.
Toxfree is constantly looking for innovation to benefit customers and the environment, after much research a specialised vacuum tank was found in Canada capable of Landspraying While Drilling (LWD). This is a method of managing water-based drilling by-products that can further minimise disturbance associated with drilling operations. The tried and tested Canadian technology was the ideal starting point for the new truck. Volvo Australia worked closely with the body manufacturer in Canada to ensure that all standards were met and the two major components were 100% compatible. The result of this partnership was that the body and the cab chassis fit perfectly. The landspray truck combines the vacuum tank and navigation technology with the Australian custom built Volvo 10×6 chassis, featuring variable tire pressure control for instant stability over all types of terrain.
The vacuum tank contains agitators that spin to keep the drilling by-products moving and to stop it drying out. As the rotation increases the muds are separated from the fluids, the separated mud is then sprayed into nearby designated agricultural land.
To ensure that the mud spray is used in the most efficient way possible, navigation technology is used to map out the land area for tracking and monitoring. This ensures no path is covered twice, allowing maximum coverage of the mud spray. The Geofencing technology maps out the path the driver will take and then manages the spray so nothing is wasted. After completing a line of spray in the field, the system is automatically turned off while the truck turns and then comes back on when it is on track again.
The truck demonstrates that drilling mud can be managed by landspraying in a manner that preserves soil chemical, biological and physical properties, does not harm vegetation and protects the quality of the surface and groundwater, and is EPA approved. This method for managing drilling mud minimises the environmental footprint associated with drilling operations. Toxfree are also reducing the amount of heavy truck traffic on roads as the result of transporting drilling by-products to a processing facility.