New “Green” Fracking Wastewater Plant in McKean County, PA

A new Marcellus wastewater treatment facility is coming to McKean County, PA, and by using a local railroad spur, owners of the new facility hope to service a large area of Pennsylvania and eventually New York, reducing truck traffic. The facility will use methane from a local landfill for power instead of electricity. Low-grade heat (from the methane) is used to process the wastewater, making it an “environmentally friendly” alternative technology.

A new joint partnership is announced to provide a solution to environmental issues surrounding treatment of mineral-laden brackish water from Marcellus Shale drilling.

A partnership between Casella Waste Systems Inc., Rutland VT and Altela Inc., privately held water desalination company in Albuquerque NM forms Casella-Altela Regional Environmental Services LLC. It will recycle brackish oilfield and natural gas wastewater into clean distilled water for future use. The clean water will be the same quality as rainwater and can be recycled or reused in oil and gas operations, it’s noted.

Altela will provide technology to clean the brackish water to a quality higher than state and Federal standards. Casella will provide the working infrastructure and operational facilities for the treatment facility.

The first location will be at a Casella-owned landfill in McKean County, PA. Placement of the treatment facility there provides a platform to provide resource solutions to drilling companies, including brackish and clean water storage. It will be powered by clean energy generated by methane gas captured from the landfill.

"This is a perfect environmental fit — making pure distilled water from brackish Marcellus oilfield water. At the same time it will reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the treatment of waste water," says Ned Godshall, Altela CEO. "The unique AltelaRain process cleans frac water using primarily just the methane gas already coming off the landfill — not electricity."

Since the McKean site is adjacent to an existing rail spur, the facility will enable both transport of large frac flowback water volumes to the site — and clean treated water back to customers throughout Pennsylvania and New York, with minimal truck traffic.

"The Marcellus Shale needs a sustainable solution to treat frac flowback water," says Matthew Bruff, Altela Vice President. "This partnership with Casella allows us to extend our corporate philosophy of sustainable water reuse. It also allows us to now extend to E&P wastewater in northwestern Pennsylvania — progressive reuse options."

Altela announced this is the first of many facilities planned throughout the Northeast to combine synergies of landfill waste energy with the company’s reclamation of pure water from frac flowback using low-grade heat — not expensive electricity.*

*Altela Press Release/PennEnergy (Accessed Nov 1, 2011) – New recycling solution treats Marcellus Shale flowback frac water

  • Anonymous

    I  have always noticed Jim, when there is a positive article with a positive solution to a ” supposed  problem” (waste water treatment) the anti’s have nothing to say. The natural gas industry is here to stay, and with that technologies will be improved upon. There also will be new emerging companies coming out of the wood work creating jobs as well as quelling the fears of the uneducated and uninformed.

  • Well said! I agree.

  • Anonymous

    HOGWASH!  Necessity is the mother of invention.  PA lawmakers have been lax and should have had many rules and regs now being considered in place before MS gas drilling began but the cart got before the horse.  Now everyones attempting to play catch up.  No one ever said to banish the drilling, just to make it as safe as humanly possible with current knowledge and make it right with those who are harmed.  Things should improve as time goes by.  The drilling DOES NOT belong in all areas, however.  That’s a given.

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