In Pennsylvania, one of the country’s major fracking hotspots, more research is being conducted to reduce the amount of water wastage created through fracking.
According to a 2011 report by the Environmental Protection Agency, it can take between 70 billion to 140 billion gallons of water to frack 35,000 wells per year. The desire to find resourceful ways to reduce the amount of water is motivated by both environmental and financial concerns. Securing such massive volumes of water can be difficult and controversial in some states suffering through droughts. At the same time, delivering the water to the fracking site can cost 10 to 14 cents per gallon, or over $400,000 per fracking procedure.
Moreover, even disposal of water can be expensive, with some contractors charging $8 to dispose of each 42-gallon barrel. Disposal can also be time consuming, especially in some remote areas of Pennsylvania, where waste water must be transported via truck to Ohio due to a lack of injection wells in the state.
Given these issues, Pennsylvanian fracking sites have come up with an alternative: recycling. Rather than inject the waste water into the ground, recycled fracking water is cleaned and reused to frack additional wells, minimizing the amount of water usage and costs associated with securing and disposing water. In Pennsylvania, fourteen percent of water used in fracking is now recycled, up from just 1 percent two years ago.
Such measures can reduce the cost of natural gas by $2 per barrel, which is roughly $200,000 worth of savings over the lifetime of a well. Chesapeake Energy Corp. now recycles 100 percent of its waste water in northern Pennsylvania.
Source: Wall Street Journal