Four-Out-of-Five Gas Drillers Prefer PA DEP to the EPA

“The DEP for us in Pennsylvania has much greater capability to provide the level of oversight to protect the public and ensure the industry is following the law,” said Dave Spigelmeyer, Vice President of Government Relations for Chesapeake Oil & Gas. [SOURCE: Andrew Conte, Pittsburg Tribune-Review]

Chesapeake claims to recycle 100% of its flowback from fracking operations in Pennsylvania, except that which it spills of course. The company, which had voluntarily suspended operations as a result of the Bradford County well accident in April, has now resumed its business in the state. Chesapeake’s wastewater recycling claims come in response to last week’s request by the EPA PA Administrator, Shawn Garvin, for six major gas producers to provide an accounting of all wastewater produced by gas extraction by May 25th. The Marcellus Gas Coalition, the state’s largest gas industry group, maintains that the EPA’s request is “redundant” because they are already “aggressively and tightly regulated” by the PA DEP. 

According to PA DEP, gas drillers recycle 70% of their frack waste water.

Drillers like to use higher percentages.

Of the six companies pestered by the EPA, who account for more than 50 percent of the industrial gas drilling in Pennsylvania, most claim to handle their wastewater “in house.”

Atlas Resources L.L.C = Yet to disclose
Talisman Energy USA = 100%
Range Resources – Appalachia, L.L.C. = 90%
Cabot Gas and Oil Corporation = Yet to disclose
SWEPI, LP = Yet to disclose

So Where’s The Wastewater?
Actually, I can account for 99% of the frack wastewater in Pennsylvania. It’s sitting in open double-lined, bermed-up pools near well bores, evaporating methane and formaldehyde into the air; or sloshing around in the back of a tanker truck barreling down what once was a quiet, county road; or it’s being injected back down into the ground for another frack. Whatever’s left is distilled and deposited in a wastewater treatment facility, upstream from some poor creature’s drinking water supply, or swept under the proverbial rug into a deep injection well to be dealt with in another lifetime. As for the other 1%, I’ll leave it to the experts to figure that out.

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