Venezuela's waste management regulations have evolved considerably in the past 2 years with respect to both their nature and their enforcement. In order to effectively manage water runoff as a result of industrial and residential discharges and to prevent further degradation of fresh water sources, the Venezuelan government now demands that industries test and, if necessary, treat water that is discharged from operations bases, especially those bases that support oilfield operations.

At the same time, Venezuelan engineers are developing more cost-effective means to treat these effluents and offer a better service to companies affected by strict enforcement of these regulations.

Three different water treatment strategies were tried and evaluated in Venezuela. Each one has advantages and disadvantages depending on location, local regulation and available technical expertise. One technology employs the use of an automated filtration system, another employs simple flocculation and gravity removal of resultant flocs, and a third applies an emulsion breaker that assists flotation and removal of oily particles. Results are presented on water quality relative to discharge regulations, system performance and reliability, space and technical requirements, initial and operations costs.

Evaluating these technologies and deciding on the most appropriate for a particular application is not sufficient to maintain a cost-effective and legally compliant system. The objective of hazardous waste generators must be to establish partnerships with contractors and regulators to develop improved waste management processes in Venezuela. Furthermore, this process of developing practical, new technologies is crucial for dealing with these and other remediation problems in areas where the best available technology for one location may not be the best for another, even one with similar problems.

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