Monday, May 7, 2012

Fracking for Better Water

At the suggestion of the Governor’s Marcellus Shale Advisory Commission last year, the state Department of Environmental Protection is in the process of establishing an approval process for the use of acid mine drainage in hydraulic fracturing.  It is tailoring that process to address concerns that could discourage the industry from using mine water. SRBC encouragement

The Susquehanna River Basin Commission, which permits drillers to withdraw water from within the Susquehanna’s watershed, began encouraging drillers to use acid mine drainage when fracturing by reducing or eliminating permit fees for “lesser-quality waters,” including water contaminated by mining and public wastewater.
I like that, a positive incentive for using water of lower quality for fracking fluid instead of surface or groundwater of higher quality, but I wonder if the reduced fees will make up for any additional pretreatment required to make it suitable for fracking.  I don't know how clean water has to be for fracking fluid, but acid mine drainage has lots of issues.  I do know that fracking fluid is often reused despite high levels of dissolved solids, so maybe it's not a problem, or it might simply limit the number of times it can be recycled.

I doubt that a significant amount of the acid mine drainage being produced can be used by fracking operations.

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