Reuse of Wastewater Raises Questions About Oversight

By On December 29, 2014 8:04 am

Star Beacon

By John Finnerty

HARRISBURG, Pa. — The state’s growing gas industry exports millions of barrels of waste to Ohio and other states, but the vast portion of its leftovers are treated and reused.

Drilling companies recycle their own wastewater in 90 percent of cases, saving money and avoiding the need to haul waste miles offsite, say industry representatives. The practice has also helped diminish the number of truck accidents in the Marcellus region.

Technology used to treat and reuse wastewater from drillers’ hydraulic fracturing process, or “fracking,” was pioneered in the state’s Marcellus region, said Travis Windle, a spokesman for the Marcellus Shale Coalition.

“It’s another example of how the industry is leading from the front,” he said.

David Yoxtheimer, an associate in the Penn State Cooperative Extension specializing in hydrogeology, said the technology was born from necessity.

In 2011, as natural gas drilling reached its zenith, state regulators who discovered elevated levels of chemicals in waterways barred drilling waste from being sent to sewage treatment plants.

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This article specifically deals with the Marcellus Shale. For more information about this North American shale play, go to: