October 27, 2010

Where economy and the environment meet

October 27, 2010

The effective processing and reuse of water used in the fracking process of natural gas drilling is probably the issue of most concern to detractors and even supporters of the industry. We want the region's water supply and its environmental integrity to be preserved. That's a goal everyone should have.

That said, everyone should take some heart and root for the success of a business such as the one Hydro Recovery LP broke ground on last week in Blossburg. The business is built around a treatment plant that will allow wastewater produced by hydrofracturing for natural gas in Tioga County to be treated and reused indefinitely.

The business has the visible backing of the state Department of Environmental Protection. And wth good reason. The $11.5 million facility will turn millions of gallons of wastewater into a product called "hydraulic stimulation fluid," which can be reused in the fracking process after contaminants are removed. It will be similar to an operation already established by TerrAqua Resource Management in Williamsport.

The key word there is reused. If the operation is successful, it removes the necessity of withdrawing from streams for every instance of fracking in the gas drilling process. The positive implications of that on the region's water supply are obvious. Operations such as these will reduce both the drain on the supply and the need to pump fracking water back into the streams.

Hydro Recovery LP holds economic promise, with 12 people hired to manage it and 40 jobs created for the construction of the plant. The practical environmental necessities that go with the gas drilling process are creating, not just healthy solutions, but also economic opportunity. The Blossburg groundbreaking is another example of the environmental-economic partnership possible.

Williamsport Sungazette