Treatment techniques differ from disposal techniques in that they modify or separate the properties of the waste, but the waste must still be placed somewhere. In burial, discharge, land application, and injection, the waste is placed on the land, in the sea, or deep in the earth. Treatment techniques are aimed at removing oil, reducing the mobility of contaminants, or otherwise modifying the properties of the waste material.
Many treatment techniques have been tried. Most have aimed at reducing the amount of oil retained on the cuttings, so as to allow the cuttings to be discharged at sea. Others have aimed at encapsulating the cuttings and contaminants to prevent their leaching into the environment.
Not all of the treatment techniques will be discussed. However, it is important to discuss three types of treatment. The first is dewatering. Dewatering is the mechanical and chemical separation of liquid and solids from drilling fluid and cuttings. The second is thermal desorption, which is the heat separation of oil from cuttings. The third is stabilization. This technique is the attempt to encapsulate contaminants in the cuttings to prevent leaching.
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