Truck Accident Spills 4,200 Gal. of Wastewater in Lycoming County

A truck hauling produced water–naturally occurring water from the depths that continues coming out of a drilled well long after it’s been fracked–overturned and spilled approximately 4,200 gallons of that wastewater. The wastewater, often called “brine” due to its minerally or salty composition, came from Pennsylvania General Energy (PGE) shale wells and was being hauled by Stallion Oilfield Services. It spilled on the ground “adjacent” to a “native trout stream” in the Pine Creek area in Lycoming County, PA.
Continue reading

National Truck Stop Chain Buys M-U Wastewater Hauler

You know those Pilot Flying J truck stops you sometimes visit to fill up as you’re traveling along our nation’s interstate highways? They’re not just big gas stations with convenience stores. Pilot Flying J has its own fleet of trucks. One of the divisions of Flying J targets the exploration and production (E&P) sector, i.e. drillers. Flying J has just announced it has bought out Equipment Transport, LLC, which hauls shale wastewater in the Marcellus, Utica and Permian Basin. Now your favorite truck stop is also your favorite wastewater hauler!
Continue reading

Treating PA’s Acid Mine Drainage & Frack Wastewater Together

Pennsylvania has had a seriously bad problem with acid mine drainage for years–water that washes through old/abandoned coal mines that comes back out heavily laden with minerals that make it acidic and a danger to the environment. More recently, with the shale revolution, PA has also found itself with an abundance of shale wastewater–most of it “produced” water that comes from deep in the earth (not surface drinking water), also laden with all sorts of minerals. Both acid mine water and shale wastewater are not easy to treat. Some sharp kids and their professors at the University of Pittsburgh got the bright idea to combine the two together, and treat them together, at the same time. Why? Because they have opposite amounts of barium and sulfates. Combine the two and you can more easily remove the nasty stuff via “precipitation.” How cool is that?
Continue reading

Ohio EPA Considers Converting Class II Injection Wells to Class I

Buckeye Brine, a relatively young Ohio-based company, owns and operates three shale wastewater injection wells in Coshocton County. Buckeye has operated their three Class II (as they are known) injection wells “flawlessly” for the past five years. No earthquakes. No spills. No leaks back to the surface. Nothing. Buckeye now wants to re-designate two of the three wells as Class I wells, which would allow them to accept non-shale wastewater–from industrial equipment operators, soap manufacturers, food processors, power plants, and municipal wastewater treatment plants. But antis are kicking up a fuss, claiming the change will pollute everything and everyone from here to Timbuktu. Fortunately state regulators are not swayed by such histrionics. The Ohio EPA is accepting public comments on the conversion until Nov. 26. There’s still time to write in and support the project!
Continue reading

Univ of Pittsburgh Awarded $1.76M to Test Frack Wastewater Tech

Pictured from left with the DIAMOND membrane distillation technology are Dr. Vidic, post-doc Yoshihiko Inagaki, Dr. Khanna, and graduate student researcher Zhewei Zhang. CREDIT: Swanson School of Engineering

The University of Pittsburgh is getting a $1.76 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to pilot test a new method of treating frack wastewater. When we read the headline about this grant we rolled our eyes. Really?! There are plenty of private firms who cracked the frack wastewater recycling code years ago! We’ve personally seen several of them at work. Why do we need yet more research to do the same thing? But then we read further. Not only does Pitt claim they have “cracked the code” in producing a better way to recycle frack wastewater, they have innovated a way to use “waste heat available at drilling sites and natural gas compressor stations to safely treat shale gas wastewater for reuse.” Hmmm. Now that *is* interesting, and perhaps worth funding.
Continue reading

Aqua America Buys Peoples Gas for $4.3B – Old Pipes, Similar Nature

Aqua America, the nation’s second largest water/wastewater utility company headquartered near Philadelphia, announced it is buying Peoples Gas, the nation’s fifth largest natural gas utility company headquartered in Pittsburgh, for $4.275 billion. This story interests us because the buyer, Aqua America, provides services to Marcellus/Utica shale drillers, and because Peoples Gas is a buyer of Marcellus/Utica gas. The combined company will both serve the shale industry as part of the supply chain, and buy the output of the shale industry as a customer. How cool is that? What made Aqua interested in Peoples? It has to do with old pipes in the ground. And similar natures.
Continue reading

Study Confirms Wisdom of Not Dumping Untreated Frack Wastewater

The Elliptio complanate freshwater mussel, one of the two species used in the experiment. IMAGE: WESTCOTT PHILLIP / WIKIPEDIA COMMONS

Some old news that has become new once again. Prior to 2011, a few Pennsylvania municipal sewage treatment plants accepted untreated frack wastewater, processing it through their systems and releasing it into the environment (rivers and streams). Based on scientific data available at the time, then-Secretary of the Dept. of Environmental Protection, Mike Krancer (Republican), stopped the practice (see PA DEP, Marcellus Shale Coalition Admit Drilling Wastewater Likely Contaminating Drinking Water). Since that time there have been no PA (or any other state) sewage plants accepting frack wastewater. A new study by Penn State now confirms what we pretty much knew then–that aquatic life is affected by dumping untreated frack wastewater into streams and rivers.
Continue reading

ODNR Says Trumbull Injection Well Can Reopen with “Acceptable” Plan

American Water Management Services (AWMS) owns a wastewater injection well in Trumbull County that supposedly caused a low-level earthquake (that nobody could feel) in 2014. Two wells located at the site, both operated by AWMS, were “temporarily” shut down by the Ohio Dept. of Natural Resources following the quake (see ODNR Temporarily Shuts Down Injection Wells After Low-Level Quake). AWMS appealed the closure of the wells all the way to the Ohio Supreme Court. ODNR is still trying to block one of the two wells from opening by saying AWMS *could* open the well–if they submit an acceptable (comprehensive) plan.
Continue reading

New Ohio Injection Well Launches in Tuscarawas County

Click for larger version

Glenn O. Hawbaker, Inc., long known for providing stone quarries and asphalt plants in Pennsylvania and Ohio, provides civil construction services for shale well sites. The company is also involved in water withdrawal and treatment, logistics of supplies and the creation of specialized aggregate products for the shale industry. Hawbaker recently held an open house to launch the startup of its very first shale wastewater injection well–in Newcomerstown (Tuscarawas County), Ohio. Hawbaker held a Grand Opening Open House for their injection well last week. What’s that? You don’t think injecting wastewater in the ground is a good thing? We’d like a chance to change your mind about that…
Continue reading

EPA Public Mtg Examines Disposing O&G Wastewater in Lakes, Rivers

In May the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) launched a study looking into the possibility of treating oil and gas wastewater and (gasp) releasing the cleaned-up wastewater into lakes and rivers, instead of injecting it back down holes in the ground. Earlier this week the EPA held a public meeting to discuss preliminary findings and to elicit more input from the industry and from Big Green on their study, which is called “Study of Oil and Gas Extraction Wastewater Management” (due to be released early next year). Below is an update on the meeting with a slide deck used by EPA.
Continue reading

Nuverra Buys Clearwater Solutions w/Guernsey, OH Injection Wells

Nuverra Environmental Solutions (formerly Heckmann) is one of the largest companies in the United States that handles transportation and disposal of shale drilling wastewater and leftover rock and dirt from drilling. The company has major operations in the Marcellus/Utica region. Those operations are expanding. Nuverra announced last Friday it has purchased, lock, stock and barrel, ClearWater Solutions, an Ohio injection well operator. Purchase price was $41.9 million. Looks like Nuverra has fully recovered from bankruptcy just one year ago.
Continue reading

Reliable Buys Athens, OH Injection Well, Plans to Drill 2nd Well

Reliable One Resources, a wastewater treatment company headquartered in Texas, has just purchased an existing/functioning wastewater injection well in Athens, OH. Reliable does not say in their announcement who sold them the well. They do say they intend to drill a second well next to the first one (which is the big news for us), and that they (Reliable) is in the process of buying “multiple trucking companies” that will hauling wastewater from Marcellus/Utica drillers to their facility.
Continue reading

Plum Injection Well Hearing Draws Solid Opposition

Earlier this year the federal EPA approved a new injection well for Plum Borough in Allegheny County, PA (see Federal EPA Approves Permit for Plum, PA Wastewater Injection Well). Although federal approval is necessary, so too is state approval. The PA Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) held a public hearing Monday night to elicit input. Around 60 people showed up. All 17 who spoke at the hearing were against the proposed injection well.
Continue reading

Hubbard Twp, OH Still Trying to Block Injection Well

Two weeks ago MDN told you that liberal Democrat State Rep. Glenn Holmes (from Girard, Trumbull County, OH) is attempting to use a hammer to kill a fly (see Ohio Democrats Float Bill to Cap Injection Wells at 23 per County). Holmes is sponsoring House Bill 723 to cap the number of injection wells at 23 per county, in an attempt to block a single new injection well from getting built in Hubbard Township. Currently Trumbull County has 17 live and functioning wastewater injection wells. Five more are currently under construction. If the bill passes, it would prevent a newly-proposed well in Hubbard from getting built. Holmes has some company in his opposition. Hubbard township officials are “bitterly opposed” to the injection well and raising their own fuss to try and stop it. The preferred solution for Hubbard officials is for the state to allow local towns to write their own oil and gas zoning laws–a prescription for NIMBY disaster. No town would allow it, which is why the review and authorization of injection wells is a joint process between the federal EPA and the state. But that well-thought-out solution of federal/state review doesn’t stop the locals from kicking up a fuss…
Continue reading

Dartmouth: How Water & Shale Combine to Produce Radioactive Waste

A pair of newly published research papers from Dartmouth College may shed new light on radioactivity in shale waste water. We previously highlighted research from Dartmouth in 2015 and again in 2016 dealing with Marcellus Shale and water (see Dartmouth Study: Fracking Causes Toxic Metal Wastewater and Dartmouth Study Finds Barium Leaches Directly from Marcellus Shale). We said at the time, “…we don’t detect an agenda on the part of the researchers. This appears to us to be legitimate research that helps us better understand the chemical reactions happening a mile or more below the ground when we shoot water down there.” And so we continue to feel about these latest Dartmouth studies. Reportedly for the first time we now understand how “slick water” (water and chemicals used during fracking) can combine with shale rock, transferring some of the naturally occurring radiation from the rock to the water. That is, we better understand the science of it. Which means we can develop better ways to handle and treat water that may have low levels of radioactivity…
Continue reading

New WV Facility Opens to Handle Radioactive M-U Waste

SECUR, a privately owned company headquartered in Pittsburgh that (among other things) cleans up radioactive waste from shale drilling, has just opened a new 10-acre branch facility in Tyler County, WV to do just that–to clean up NORM (naturally occurring radioactive materials) and TENORM (technically-enhanced naturally occurring radioactive material). The facility cleans up both liquids (wastewater) and solids (drill cuttings) that contain a tiny bit of radiation in them, making them suitable for safe disposal. No, there is no permanent storage at the facility–the site, located in Friendly, WV, is only used to clean up the stuff coming in. SECUR then repackages the material and sends it back out to licensed disposal facilities. And did we mention…SECUR is a woman-owned, small business? Nice. Here’s the good news of yet more jobs and an essential service have come to the WV part of the Marcellus/Utica…
Continue reading