What Does Marcellus Wastewater Disposal Look Like in 10-15 Years?

An interesting and well-written article appears in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review on the topic of disposal and recycling of frack wastewater. Once upon a time drillers in Pennsylvania would send frack wastewater to the local municipal sewage treatment plant. That ended in 2011 under Dept. of Environmental Protection Secretary Michael Krancer (see PA DEP, Marcellus Shale Coalition Admit Drilling Wastewater Likely Contaminating Drinking Water). Today, some 90% of frack wastewater, which includes both flowback (the stuff that comes back out of the hole for the first couple of weeks following a frack job) and produced water (the naturally occurring water from the depths that continues to come out after the initial frack job), is recycled and used for more fracking. But according to experts quoted, that can only go on for perhaps another 15 years. What happens after that? How do Marcellus/Utica drillers dispose of wastewater when there’s more than they can reuse?…

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