Monday, January 28, 2013

Fracking produces less wastewater per gas well, but gas boom creates more wastewater overall

Hydraulically fractured natural gas wells are producing less wastewater than conventional gas wells, but the scale of fracking in the Marcellus Shale region is so large that the wastewater it produces could outpace the region's wastewater disposal capacity, according to a study by scientists at Duke University and Kent State University.

The researchers concluded that fracked wells produce about 35 percent less wastewater than conventional wells, but the total amount of wastewater produced annually since 2004 has increased by about 570 percent since 2004 because of increased production.

Researchers analyzed gas production and wastewater generation for more than 2,000 gas wells in Pennsylvania using public data, Science Daily reports. The study was published in the journal Water Resources Research. Hydraulic fracturing uses large volumes of water, sand and chemicals to create cracks in shale formations to release gas. Increased production naturally increases the total amount of water used. The study also revealed that well operators classified most wastewater as brine, not as flowback from fracking. (Read more)

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