Oil and Gas Producers Ramp Up Water Recycling

Weeks removed from anti-hydraulic fracturing groups like Earthworks and Environment America releasing “studies” that conveniently ignored water recycling data, the Associated Press today provided the real picture, reporting on just how extensive water recycling has become.  From the AP:

[D]rillers have found a way to get by with much less water: They recycle it using systems that not long ago they may have eyed with suspicion.

“This was a dramatic change to the practices that the industry used for many, many years,” said Paul Schlosberg, co-founder and chief financial officer of Water Rescue Services, the company that runs recycling services for Fasken Oil and Ranch in West Texas, which is now 90 percent toward its goal of not using any freshwater for fracturing, or “fracking,” as it is commonly known.

The article goes on to explain that water recycling methods have rapidly become not only a more environmentally sound option, but also an economical one:

Just a few years ago, many drillers suspected water recyclers were trying to sell an unproven idea designed to drain money from multimillion dollar businesses. Now the system is helping drillers use less freshwater and dispose of less wastewater. Recycling is rapidly becoming a popular and economic solution for a burgeoning industry.

The evidence for this rapid transformation abounds.  Take, for example, what’s going on in Pennsylvania: according to data from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, between 2008 and 2011, 61.3 percent of wastewater was recycled or reused.  By 2012, that number rose to 86.1 percent and, in just the first half of 2013, 90 percent of flowback water was reused or recycled.

That’s not the only good news this week regarding water.  The BBC reports that a study from UK Water Industry Research, a research body set up by the UK’s water industry, has concluded hydraulic fracturing does not pose a credible threat to water.  According to the BBC:

A spokesman for Water UK, which represents the industry, said: “There are risks. But they’re risks we feel could be mitigated.”

So, to recap: Not only is the industry rapidly reducing its water use, but we also discover that yet another assessment has found hydraulic fracturing to be protective of water resources. That’s news we can all celebrate.


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