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Marcellus Shale Coalition Releases Information On Flowback Water Treatment

The Marcellus Shale Coalition this week issued the following statement to provide additional background on  water use and flowback water management in the development of natural gas from the Marcellus Shale formation.
            Last week the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee held a hearing on drilling wastewater issues were a variety of views and issues were discussed.  (PA Environment Digest 2/1/2010)
            "Pennsylvanians deserve to get the facts about water management for Marcellus Shale development.  We need to put an end to the suppositions that could threaten our state's ability to create jobs and investment here at home.
            "Regulations governing the use and management of water needed to drill a Marcellus Shale well in Pennsylvania are among the most stringent in the nation, and ensure the protection of the Commonwealth's water resources.  Water withdrawals from streams and rivers must be approved, including the withdrawal location and amount of water required for each well, as well as detailed storage and treatment plans.
            "The industry currently treats or recycles all of its flowback water.  Recycling accounts for approximately 60 percent of the water used to complete Marcellus Shale wells, with greater percentages predicted for the future.  There are more than a dozen approved water treatment facilities available to treat flowback water, with plans for additional capacity in the future.
            "Companies are working with international water quality experts and are funding research and development projects to develop mobile and permanent treatment technologies such as evaporation and crystallization. These efforts will enhance the Commonwealth's overall water treatment capabilities, while bringing more commerce into Pennsylvania. We're also researching and developing deep underground injection well technology, which is a proven, safe disposal method in other regions of the country.
            "Claims about elevated levels of Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) in the Monongahela River from natural gas development have been refuted by studies that attribute a minimal amount of the total TDS levels to Marcellus Shale drilling activity. In fact, historical monitoring shows the variability of TDS levels in the Monongahela and other rivers to be a cyclical phenomenon over the past 30 years.
            "The industry is committed to the use of Best Management Practices in all aspects of its operations, including significant investment in advanced flowback water treatment capabilities and recycling technologies." 


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