Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Shale Gas Boom Creates Market Opportunity To Clean Fracking Water

Source: FORBES
Erica Gies, Contributor
Independent environment reporter, founder of ThisWeekInEarth.com

As U.S. shale gas resources and hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, have entered the national consciousness, protests from nearby residents, then regulation, have followed. Yet rather than being bad for business, this regulation is actually spurring a new market in water technologies, according to a comprehensive report by the Artemis Project, a specialist consulting practice.

In particular, author Purabi Thakre and editor Laura Shenkar believe the rich Marcellus “play” — the gas industry term for large deposits — and its location under heavily populated New York and Pennsylvania are creating a vast market opportunity. “The Marcellus Effect: Building Momentum for Advanced Water Technology Solutions” says, “Experts estimate that shale gas drilling will grow sevenfold over the next 10 years in the Marcellus Shale…. The resulting market for wastewater disposal and treatment in this region alone will exceed $3 billion per year, according to the Global Water Intelligence report published in March 2011.” In addition, Shenkar expects that water technology innovations created for shale plays will find markets in other industries.

An expert on corporate water strategy and water technologies, Shenkar founded the Artemis Project, a consulting firm that advises corporations on water strategy and supports technological innovation in water management. Each year the Artemis Project sponsors the Top 50 Water Companies Competition to identify emerging technologies and investment opportunities in the water sector. This year, 10 of the 50 companies were innovating new technologies to clean up fracking wastewater.

Fracking has been around for decades, but new technology innovations and a higher price for natural gas have recently made it economic to employ it more widely. But Congress, pushed by Vice President Dick Cheney, exempted gas drilling from EPA Clean Water Act regulations in 2005. So as fracking has ramped up, particularly close to where people live, environmental concerns about water quality have emerged. Perhaps the image that best captures people’s concerns is video footage of a man setting his tap water on fire in the documentary film Gasland.

Since that film debuted last year, a scientific report has linked fracking to methane contamination in nearby aquifers. Pennsylvania officials fined Chesapeake Energy more than $1 million for contaminating the water supply in Bradford County. New York recommended a ban on drilling in the watersheds for New York City and Syracuse. In June Texas became the first state to require disclosure of fracking chemicals, which were previously considered to be intellectual property. Just this month, a federal panel recommended greater disclosure and monitoring of fracking’s environmental effects.

Fracking is a water-intensive process. According to “The Marcellus Effect,” a typical frack well uses about 4 million gallons of fresh water over its lifetime. The fracking process dirties the water both with the proprietary chemicals used and by its exposure to elements deep in the earth that are not found in surface waters. The industry calls its wastewater “produced water.”

According to the report:

“Produced water is often high in naturally occurring total dissolved solids, chloride, sulfate, and metals (such as iron)…. Produced water may also contain naturally occurring radioactive material or petroleum compounds (such as benzene, toluene, and xylene). The produced water might also contain remnants of the fracturing fluids [which contain secret recipes of chemicals]…. An individual well in the Marcellus Shale is estimated to create approximately 15,000 gallons of produced water per year.”

Continue reading...

please comment

No comments:

Post a Comment

WTFrack.org is a medium for concerned citizens to express their opinions in regards to 'Fracking.' We are Representatives of Democracy. We are Fractivists. We are you.