Swiss-based energy company Mercuria is interested in the effluent (sewage wastewater) that comes from the treatment plant in Weirton, West Virginia to use as a source of water for hydraulic fracturing operations.
Mercuria Energy Group, a trading company based in Geneva, Switzerland with locations throughout the globe including the United States, has presented an inquiry to [Weirton] Sanitary Board officials regarding the use of the plant’s waste water as a long-term source for fracking.
Utilities Director Butch Mastrantoni said legislation continues to limit water sources permitted for fracking and the next shortage to come to those drilling the Marcellus shale is expected to be water. He said the Weirton water plant distributes disinfected water back into the Ohio River and Mercuria is looking to capitalize on that.
Mastrantoni said the interest in the Weirton Water Plant, according to Mercuria representatives, is based on how the plant disinfects local water. He said the permanent air stripper, used to remove trihalomethanes—disinfection byproducts produced over time from using chlorine to remove bacteria from the water—now dechlorinates the water making it a viable water source for fracking. No other sizeable water plant in the area, he said, doesn’t use chlorine and Mercuria is looking for dechlorinated water.
"The company wants to begin discussions with staff and the board members," he said. "Our poop is special."*
*Weirton Daily Times (May 22, 2011) – Sanitary Board gets offer on waste water