Residents: Keep drilling discharge out of the Susquehanna

Wilkes-Barre Times Leader (Oct 7):
Residents: Keep drilling discharge out

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) held a public hearing on Tuesday in Tunkhannock, PA on the question of whether to grant a permit to discharge treated water that comes from drilling into the Susquehanna River. Local members of the community turned out to (mostly) oppose it. The article says landowners and drilling companies were not present at the meeting. The view the media and eco-nut groups want to create in people’s minds is that water used in hydrofracturing is hopelessly contaminated and can never be reused again. From the article:

But the economic development comes at an environmental cost that some residents are unwilling to accept, such as contamination to water that’s forced underground to crack the shale and release the gas.

The process is called hydraulic fracturing, and the fluid used, while mostly water, contains hazardous chemicals and lots of salt.

North Branch Processing LLC hopes to build a plant near Skyhaven Airport to clean the “frac” water and discharge it into the river. The hearing, called by the state Department of Environmental Protection, was on a permit for that discharge.

Residents said the water should be reused for “fracing” rather than put into the river.

No argument here that the water can and should be reused for more hydrofracturing. However, at some point, some of this water will need to be treated and put back into the environment. If it’s unsafe to do so, then hydrofracturing is fundamentally an unsafe practice that should be disallowed. MDN believes hydrofactured water can be treated so that it’s safe. Let’s get some more science and facts injected into the debate and less speculation and scare tactics.