Assessment of two thermally treated drill mud wastes for landfill containment applications.

Abstract

Offshore oil and gas drilling operations generate significant amounts of drill mud waste, some of which is transported onshore for subsequent thermal treatment (i.e. via thermal remediation). This treatment process results in a mineral waste by-product (referred to as thermally treated drill mud waste; TTDMW). Bentonites are originally present in many of the drill mud products and it is hypothesized that TTDMW can be utilized in landfill containment applications (i.e. cover or base liner). The objective of this paper is to examine the feasibility of this application by performing various physical and chemical tests on two TTDMW samples. It is shown that the two TTDMW samples contained relatively small amounts of clay-sized minerals although hydraulic conductivity values are found to be less than 10(-8) m/s. Organic carbon contents of the samples were approximately 2%. Mineralogy characterization of the samples confirmed varying amounts of smectite, however, peak friction angles for a TTDMW sample was greater than 36 degrees. Chemical characterization of the TTDMW samples show potential leaching of barium and small amounts of other heavy metals. Discussion is provided in the paper on suggestions to assist in overcoming regulatory issues associated with utilization of TTDMW in landfill containment applications.