Frack Your Wells and Fuck Your Water

Why isn't any­one talk­ing about this? Or am I not look­ing in the right places? And by the way, duh.

Gas drilling in Appalachia yields a foul byproduct

Map shows the Mar­cel­lus Shale for­ma­tion in the East­ern U.S. (P. Prenga­man — AP)

By MARC LEVY and VICKI SMITH

The Asso­ci­at­ed Press
Tues­day, Feb­ru­ary 2, 2010; 2:40 PM

HARRISBURG, Pa. — A drilling tech­nique that is begin­ning to unlock stag­ger­ing quan­ti­ties of nat­ur­al gas under­neath Appalachia also yields a trou­bling byprod­uct: pow­er­ful­ly briny waste­water that can kill fish and give tap water a foul taste and odor.

With for­tunes, water qual­i­ty and cheap ener­gy hang­ing in the bal­ance, explo­ration com­pa­nies, sci­en­tists and entre­pre­neurs are scram­bling for an eco­nom­i­cal way to recy­cle the waste­water.

"Every­body and his broth­er is try­ing to come up with the 11 herbs and spices," said Nicholas DeMar­co, exec­u­tive direc­tor of the West Vir­ginia Oil and Nat­ur­al Gas Asso­ci­a­tion.

Drilling crews across the coun­try have been flock­ing since late 2008 to the Mar­cel­lus Shale, a rock bed the size of Greece that lies about 6,000 feet beneath New York, Penn­syl­va­nia, West Vir­ginia and Ohio. Geol­o­gists say it could become the most pro­duc­tive nat­ur­al gas field in the U.S., capa­ble of sup­ply­ing the entire country's needs for up to two decades by some esti­mates.

Before that can hap­pen, the indus­try is real­iz­ing that it must solve the chal­lenge of what to do with its waste­water. As a result, the Mar­cel­lus Shale in on its way to being the nation's first gas field where drilling water is wide­ly reused.

The pol­lut­ed water comes from a drilling tech­nique known as hydraulic frac­tur­ing, or "frack­ing," in which mil­lions of gal­lons of water, sand and chem­i­cals are blast­ed into each well to frac­ture tight­ly com­pact­ed shale and release trapped nat­ur­al gas. Read more.

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8 Responses to Frack Your Wells and Fuck Your Water

  1. splashdown says:

    thanks for the hat tip! …but more impor­tant­ly, for mak­ing more folks aware!

  2. Rusty says:

    I don't know about con­struc­tion sites in NY. For­tu­nate­ly, though, there seems to have been lit­tle action in NY state thus far (give them time). I've done a brief search but can't find any­thing on Web­ster. One of the ways you can begin is by start­ing here (http://​www​.gomar​cel​lusshale​.com/) and fol­low­ing links. Good luck!

  3. loribahadigi says:

    There's a water treat­ment facil­i­ty being con­struct­ed in Web­ster NY. I'm won­der­ing if the waste water from frack­ing sites will be trans­port­ed there even­tu­al­ly. Any guid­ance on where to find infor­ma­tion? Where is the Wayne Co. well site?

  4. Rusty says:

    Uke, thanks for stop­ping by and com­ment­ing. I don't know enough about the whole thing, but I'm learn­ing pret­ty quick­ly.

  5. Rusty says:

    Hey–this post end­ed up in the spam somehow–I'll add you in on the list of Mar­cel­lus Shale sources I'm prep­ping. Thanks for stop­ping by.

  6. Uke Jackson says:

    It's not just the waste water that's the prob­lem. It's that 70% of the chem­i­cal-water cock­tail is left in the ground — which is porous shale. The chem­i­cals have been known to migrate more than 25 miles.

  7. Hey man, we're talk­ing about it!

    Also check out http://​splash​down​pa​.blogspot​.com as a good jump off point for some awe­some resource links!

  8. sandra seamans says:

    In PA you could check with the local news­pa­pers in Susque­han­na and Wayne coun­ties. I know the Susque­han­na Tran­script and the Susque­han­na Inde­pen­dent have run sto­ries. The local news chan­nel, which has done some sto­ries, wnep​.com , might have pieces stored in their archieves. Wayne Coun­ty along with the DEP has been suc­cess­ful in shut­ting them down near the Hones­dale area because of the pos­si­bil­i­ty of water con­t­a­m­i­na­tion. The local gov­ern­ments are try­ing to keep a lid on it because there's too mon­ey involved. They're already count­ing their chick­ens.

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