October 22, 2010


Work begins on frack water treatment plant in Tioga County

October 22, 2010 - By CHERYL R. CLARKE cclarke@sungazette.com

BLOSSBURG - Ground was broken Thursday for a treatment plant that will allow wastewater produced by hydrofracturing for natural gas in the Marcellus Shale in Tioga County to be treated and reused "indefinitely," according to Neil Hedrick, Hydro Recovery LP president.

Hedrick and his family, along with state Department of Environmental Protection Secretary John Hanger and local officials, staged the event on the project site at the intersection of old Route 15 and Boone Run Road here.

According to Hedrick, the $11.5 million facility will turn millions of gallons of wastewater into a product called "hydraulic stimulation fluid," which may be reused in the fracking process after contaminants are removed.

Hydro Recovery LP is expected to begin operations in April, Hedrick said, and will employ 12 people. It also will create about 40 construction jobs while it is being built.

Mike Hawbaker, owner of Hawbaker Engineering, is the plant's designer. Since drilling began in the Marcellus Shale more than two years ago, his company has been able to add 200 jobs, he said.

Hedrick said the facility is the first of about 12 the company plans to build in the region.

"We intend to locate these facilities close to where they are needed so as to reduce the impacts of transportation and other costs," Hedrick said.

According to Hanger, the process used by Hydro Recovery is changing the way the natural gas industry treats its wastewater "so it can be reused in the fracking process and no liquid will be discharged into the waters of the commonwealth."

Hanger also said the industry's past practice of simply dumping wastewater into streams and rivers untreated is no longer possible.

"The way the industry handled wastewater in the days prior to the Marcellus was, frankly, to allow the rivers and streams to dilute the untreated wastewater," he said.

The process to be used in the new plant, developed by global engineering firm Siemans Water Technologies, will allow it to meet the tougher DEP regulations expected to go into effect soon.

Hanger said it is important to "protect the water and environment of the commonwealth," which he said is just as important as the jobs the industry brings with it.