Case Studies

Solution Innovators. Difference Makers.

How have we added value while driving effective solutions? Check out our case studies below. If you are a client interested in sharing how we contributed to your success story, please contact us.

Case Study #19-01 – Comtech Provides On-Site Water and Waste Management to Major Energy Producer’s Natural Gas Drilling Operations


Drilling for natural gas liquids in the Marcellus Shale Play presents unique water and waste challenges to operators. Drawing on our extensive water and waste treatment experience, Comtech has collaborated with a major energy producer to develop and deliver on-site innovative solutions for waste and water processing. This has greatly reduced the environmental footprint of the drill site.

Problem Summary

Solids: While the rig is drilling the top hole on a Marcellus Shale well, the air that moves the drill cuttings out of the hole contains a high concentration of solid material. Water is used to scrub the solid material from the air – creating a wastewater high in suspended solids.

Water: While the rig is drilling on the top hole, water can be encountered in deep bed coal mines and other formations. The pressure from the formation forces the excess water to the surface and the water needs to be handled. Typically, this water is put into an impoundment pit and treated off-site at a later time.

Comtech Solution

Solids: Rather than putting this high solids waste stream into an impoundment for off-site processing at a later time, Comtech utilizes an on-site closed loop system to dewater these solids and provide recycled, clean water to the rig for continued use in scrubbing the suspended solids from the air.

Water: On average, excess water encountered while drilling be routed to a waste empoundment. We go beyond the typical treatment to bring a mobile system to site for the unveiling of water reuse technology. We treat the excess water and reuse it during the hydraulic fracturing process.

Environmental and Economic Benefits

– Reduction in environmental footprint associated with off-site truck hauling of waste and waste water (fuel, emissions, road maintenance)

– Elimination of impoundment pits that present operators with a risk of leaks and environmental non-compliance

– Compared to other competitive systems, Comtech’s system is able to reduce the total tons of waste solids by 200-400 tons per hole drilled

– Direct cost avoidance due to savings associated with off-site truck hauling of water and waste water to and from treatment facility

– Impoundment pit elimination reduces risk of large costs due to accidental ground contamination

– Reduction in waste of 200-400 tons per hole drilled allows for a direct landfill cost savings


Case Study #13-09 – Waste Reduction Solution for Southeastern U.S. Steel Mill


SSAB is a global producer of high strength steel. Their Axis, AL facility requires an audit of water and waste water treatment. The audit focus was to examine cost savings opportunities and environmental sustainability improvements.

Problem Summary

The facility performs a weekly scale pit cleanout, requiring one of the two scale pits to be taken out of service. The freestanding water is drawn off the pit and the remaining waste material is solidified with sawdust and landfilled. During this process, production time is limited to certain grades of material.


Comtech studied and trialed numerous innovative alternative solidification materials and delivered a solution that has been successful in reducing the amount of waste material sent to the landfill and reducing pit downtime at an equivalent overall cost to the previous practice. Further optimization will result in overall cost reduction of the cleanout process.

Environmental and Economic Benefits

– Reduction of greater than 100 tons per week to local landfill – equivalent to the average residential waste of ~11,000 people

– Reduction in environmental footprint associated with trucks transporting excess waste (fuel, emissions, etc.)

– Reduction in pit downtime from 25 hours 16 hours giving flexibility to the production schedule and allowing the mill to increase savings