March 28, 2012

Expanded liquid waste treatment options OK’d

March 28, 2012
By CHERYL R. CLARKE - , Williamsport Sun-Gazette

BLOSSBURG - Hydro Recovery LP now can treat additional wastewater from the oil and gas industry, thanks to a recent approval by the state Department of Environmental Protection.

The approval will allow additional types of liquid waste such as boring fluids and hydrostatic fluids to be recycled into treated brine water that the industry can reuse for hydraulic fracturing in the Marcellus Shale, thus reducing the need for fresh water supplies and for waste disposal through injection wells or land filling, said Teresa Copenhaver, business development manager.

Boring fluids - the muddy water created during the laying of collection pipeline - and hydrostatic fluids - the result of pipeline testing - contain some solids but no chemicals, she said.

"We had asked if we could amend our general permit to take additional fluids and from there, they agreed to expand it even more," Copenhaver said.

The timing for the expansion coincides with Hydro Recovery's plans to put in additional storage tanks and a crystalizer at its Blossburg plant, she added.

"The new equipment will allow us to have the distilled water that comes off stored there and used for other purposes where distilled water may be needed," she said.

It also will allow Hydro Recovery to dispose of whatever small amount of solids are left over after everything that can be used is extracted from the drilling fluids.

"Hopefully the processes will create a salt that can be used someplace else and then there will be a small amount of solid to go to landfills," she said.

Though there is no estimate on how much it will increase truck traffic at the plant, Copenhaver said the companies it deals with are "pleased to see those changes because they were currently left with not a lot of other options."

"Depending on what they are doing it could mean quite a bit of fluids, but it won't be every single day," she said.

Last June, Hydro Recovery began taking wastewater from the exploration and production of Marcellus Shale natural gas and turning it into Hydraulic Stimulation Fluid for use in fracturing Marcellus Shale gas wells at its Blossburg facility. The move created more than 20 jobs with dozens of additional jobs created in related sectors.

The company has its second water treatment plant under construction in Antrim to treat liquid waste and acid mine drainage water, and is exploring additional new plants in Butler County and Ohio.

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