Monday, February 20, 2012

Must Read AP Story About Drilling Wastewater Disposal

The volumes of drilling wastewater from shale wells nearly quadrupled in the first 6 months of 2011, when compared to the first 6 months of 2010.  Of the 10.1 million barrels of wastewater produced in the first 6 months of 2011, about 97% was recycled or deep well injected, according to the Associated Press.  See  It's not clear what happened to the remaining 3%.  In the first 6 moths of 2010, Pennsylvania's Marcellus wells generated 2.8 million barrels of wastewater or about a quarter of the 2011 amount for the same period.

The AP also finds that the traditional shallow gas wells--non-Marcellus wells--are still taking their drilling wastewater to plants that may be discharging to rivers, without full treatment for Total Dissolved Solids. The AP calculates that 1.86 million barrels from these wells were produced in the first half of 2011.

Pennsylvania's regulations include a watershed requirement that TDS levels be kept below 75% of the Safe Drinking Water Act level.  Monitoring of bromide levels are continued to be monitored and sources of bromide other than drilling wastewater are being examined.


  1. Concerned ScientistFebruary 20, 2012 at 2:06 PM

    That was a good article

    This is from the end:

    "Additional water testing over the last year also appears to have put to rest concerns that radioactivity from the drilling waste could contaminate drinking water.

    States said his agency “looked real hard” at the radioactivity issue, but didn’t find a problem in western Pennsylvania rivers.

    Sunday, the DEP spokesman, said the state’s water quality monitoring network shows normal, background levels of radioactivity. “Monitoring at public water supply intakes across the state showed non-detectable levels of radiation; in the two cases that detected any level, the levels were at background,” he added."

  2. Been waiting quite some time now to hear this news. 97% of Marcellus water is NOT being treated, diluted, and discharged into local waterways, and the bromide levels barely dropped.

    I said it a year ago and I'll say it again today. It's acid mine drainage and coal scrubber effluent. This is a bitter pill to swallow, as the "voluntary" water disposal request has cost the companies I work with millions of dollars in additional operating costs and cast the entire industry in a very unfavorable light... when in fact we were causing little (if any) problem.

    1. Concerned ScientistFebruary 21, 2012 at 4:01 PM

      Thanks Mike. I wonder why coal always seems to get a free pass with these people?

  3. Coal gets no free pass, not by any stretch of the imagination. I know a lot of really good people in the coal industry that suffer from the sins of men that died 100 years ago. Acid mine drainage needs to be addressed more seriously by the state, and if they're going to take our impact fee money and use it for remediation, I hope that's where a bundle of it is directed. It's a wound that has festered far too long.

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