Water’s Journey Through the Shale Gas Drilling and Production Processes


Published on

The paper "Water’s Journey Through the Shale Gas Drilling and Production Processes in the Mid-Atlantic Region" was published by Penn State Cooperative Extension in May 2012. It traces the various paths for a water droplet used by the Marcellus Shale natural-gas industry in the mid-Atlantic region, also dealing with the issue of wastewater.

1 Like
  • Be the first to comment

No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

Water’s Journey Through the Shale Gas Drilling and Production Processes

  1. 1. Water’s Journey Through the Shale Gas Drilling and Production Processes in the Mid-Atlantic RegionThe Mid-Atlantic Water Program is acoordinated effort among DelawareState University; University ofDelaware; University of the Districtof Columbia; University of Maryland;University of Maryland, EasternShore; Penn State; Virginia StateUniversity; Virginia Tech; and WestVirginia University.
  2. 2. Robert DonnanGas pipeline being laid along a stream, Wetzel County, West Virginia.Cover: Marcellus shale drilling in progress, Beaver Run Reservoir, Westmoreland County. Credit: Robert Donnan.
  3. 3. IntroductionWater is a critical ingredient for extracting gas from the Marcel- cellus development, see the Penn State Extension publicationlus shale, which lies up to 9,000 feet underground beneath south- “River Basin Approaches to Water Management in the Mid-ern New York, northern and western Pennsylvania, the eastern Atlantic States” at extension.psu.edu/water/marcellus-shalehalf of Ohio, and most of West Virginia. In the Mid-Atlantic /regulations/river-basin-approaches-to-water-managementregion the shale around most new gas wells has to be hydrauli- -in-the-mid-atlantic-states.cally fractured to release the trapped gas so that it can be brought This publication illustrates the various paths for a waterto the surface. The drilling process itself can require more than droplet used in the Marcellus shale natural gas industry in the100,000 gallons of water, and the hydraulic fracturing (“frac- Mid-Atlantic region. Using publicly available information,ing”) process can require 2.5 million to 8 million gallons per we attempt to track and quantify current water use through thewell. Fracing uses high-pressure water, sand, and chemicals to stages of the gas well development process. This publication fo-break up the gas-holding rock and create pathways for the flow cuses mostly on Pennsylvania because it has the most Marcellusof gas to the borehole. drilling activity of any state to date. All data reported are based Horizontal drilling is used to increase the well’s contact with on wells in Pennsylvania. Much of the data comes from thethe shale rock formation. After drilling several thousand feet Susquehanna River Basin Commission (SRBC), which has beeninto the earth, this technology allows the borehole to be gradu- out in front in collecting water use data. We raise issues pertinentally turned 90 degrees over several hundred feet and horizontal to most other Mid-Atlantic states with Marcellus shale, as welldrilling to continue for about a mile. Fracing a horizontal well as Ohio. For the purposes of illustration we have simplified vari-requires significantly more water than a traditional vertical well. ous steps in the process. Note also that other shale deposits, suchFor a more detailed introduction to water-related issues sur- as the Utica shale, underlie parts of these states. These may alsorounding the development of Marcellus shale natural gas wells, eventually be drilled for gas, with the accompanying use of wa-see the Penn State Water Resources Extension publication “In- ter and generation of wastewater.troduction to Hydrofracturing” at extension.psu.edu/water Outside of the Susquehanna River basin, it is difficult to/marcellus-shale/hydrofracturing/introduction-to accurately assess the amounts and sources of water used in Mar--hydrofracturing-1. cellus well development and the amounts of wastewater being Development of the Marcellus shale resource in Pennsylva- generated, treated, and disposed of through various paths. A sys-nia began in 2007 and has proceeded rapidly. As of November tem for tracking water flows has only recently been implemented2011, there were about 4,200 wells tapping natural gas in the in Pennsylvania and needs significant improvement. AdditionalMarcellus shale in Pennsylvania, and more than 3,000 additional errors may occur because of inconsistencies in how drilling com-wells had been permitted but not yet drilled. As of April 2011, panies self-reported water-related statistics. Numbers cited herethere were about 1,400 completed Marcellus wells in West Vir- give insight only about general trends, but they are useful forginia and 1,300 wells permitted but not yet drilled. painting a big picture of the industry’s water use. State and intrastate government agency resources are being Challenges to safely disposing of Marcellus wastewater ex-challenged to keep up with the rapid pace of shale gas develop- ist from its generation in many places that already have waterment. New technologies are being tried in both the resource quality problems due to acidic mine drainage from coal mining.development process and in managing environmental and water This drainage impairs more than 3,000 miles of streams in Penn-quality and quantity impacts. The regional river basin commis- sylvania and about 5,000 miles in West Virginia. The presencesions, which exist largely in the eastern part of the Marcellus of acidic mine drainage and, in some areas, pollutants from otherregion, have been actively addressing Marcellus water manage- industries, such as public wastewater treatment facilities andment issues by developing regulations to address the industry’s pharmaceutical and chemical manufacturers, reduces the abilitydemands on water resources and potential quantity and quality of waterways to assimilate pollutants in treated Marcellus waste-issues. For more detail on river basin commission roles in Mar- water.
  4. 4. Jeffery MathisonFracing a horizontal Marcellus well may water that returns to the surface (called municipal wastewater, abandoned mineuse 2.5 million to 8 million gallons of water, “flowback water”) is the primary source drainage water, or nonpotable water soldtypically within about a week. This water of wastewater from shale gas drilling by public water supply agencies) is usuallymay come from surface or groundwater or activities. Flowback water contains very used for make-up water. Treated water mayemerging alternate sources such as mine high amounts of total dissolved solids (salts be discharged into a river, creek, lake, ordrainage. It is usually transported to the and metals) and may also contain naturally other surface water body only if it meetsdrilling site via truck, but in some cases occurring radioactive materials originating stringent state discharge standards. Somewater pipelines are used. from the shale. flowback water is disposed of without Currently, in the Marcellus region two Flowback water may be trucked to treatment via underground injectionto eight gas production wells typically a treatment facility and treated, and then into suitable geologic formations veryextend underground in various directions trucked to another well pad, where it is far below the lowest fresh groundwaterfrom one 3- to 5-acre well pad. At the stored in lagoons or tanks until it is reused. zone, although this activity is extremelywell pad water is mixed with sand and Frac-related water treatment often occurs limited in Pennsylvania. In Pennsylvania,chemicals that may include oils, gels, acids, farther from the drill pad than does water this process requires a permit from bothalcohols, and various manufactured organic acquisition. the U.S. Environmental Protection Agencychemicals. This solution, called “frac Because only about 10 percent of the (EPA) and the Pennsylvania Department ofwater,” is then forced under high pressure frac water is recaptured as flowback water, Environmental Protection (PaDEP).into the subsurface rock formation at and some of that water is subsequently lost The well development processthe appropriate depth. Depending on during the treatment process, additional includes a number of points wherethe area within the Marcellus region, water (termed “make-up water”) typically accidents, spills, or leaks could occur duebetween 60 and 90 percent of this water has to be added to the treated flowback to mechanical failure or human error. Moreremains underground, where it is trapped water. Fresh water, or relatively clean detail about each of these processes iswithin the shale formation itself. The water from another source (such as treated included below.
  5. 5. A. Water AcquisitionAbout two-thirds of the fresh water usedfor fracing is withdrawn from permittedsurface water sources and 30 percent ispurchased from public water suppliers.The average amount of water used to hy-draulically fracture a well is approximately4.2 million gallons, 90 percent of which isfresh water and 10 percent is reused flow-back water from a previous well fracing.These numbers are based strictly on waterwithdrawal activity in the SusquehannaRiver basin in Pennsylvania from June2008 to August 1, 2011 (831 wells report-ing). Surface water is a primary source forhydraulic fracturing because it is acces-sible to most drilling sites and is thereforeless costly to use. In some cases, discharg-es of pollutants, such as acidic mine drain-age, from upstream sources can adverselyaffect the quality of the water that the gasindustry wishes to use, necessitating treat-ment before use. Regulatory requirements govern-ing withdrawals for Marcellus drillingoperations are in flux throughout the Mid-Atlantic region. Pennsylvania’s regulatoryclimate is currently more settled than theothers in the region, although some observ-ers expect further revision of the state’soil and gas laws or regulations in the near Chuck Andersonfuture. Because of concerns with shale gasin various parts of the country, EPA is con- Table 1. Water withdrawal requirements and state of the industry in the Mid-Atlantic states.sidering more oversight of state handling of Jurisdiction Activity Water withdrawal requirementenvironmental aspects of this industry. Pennsylvania Active drilling and production Water management plan required for Marcellus The government institutions involved operations throughout state; Act 220 (Waterin water acquisition for Marcellus drilling Resources Planning Act) requirements must alsoand the process and approvals required be met if withdrawal meets Act 220 thresholddiffer by state and even within states Susquehanna Active drilling and production Above, plus SRBC approval required(Table 1). For example, water withdrawals River basinof any amount in the Susquehanna River Delaware Drilling suspended pending Water management plan, Act 220 requirements,watershed to develop gas wells in the River basin development of revised plus DRBC approval requiredMarcellus and other shale formations re- regulations by Delaware Riverquire approvals from the SRBC, a federal/ Basin Commission (DRBC)interstate commission that seeks to protect New York State government is taking New water withdrawal permitting law passed; steps to end effective applications for withdrawal of 2 million gallons aand manage the water resources of the ba- moratorium on Marcellus day or more will likely be due by Feb. 2015, whilesin. Water withdrawals are also regulated drilling those for 0.5–1.99 MGD will not be due until Feb.by the PaDEP throughout Pennsylvania, 2016;* SRBC approval would also be requiredincluding in areas of the state within the West Virginia Active drilling and production Water management plan to West VirginiaOhio River basin. The Delaware River Department of Environmental Protection requiredBasin Commission has the authority to for companies that withdraw more than 210,000regulate water withdrawals and discharges gallons of water per monthand is currently developing regulations Maryland Leasing activity; a fewspecifically for the natural gas industry. drilling permit applications;Regardless of which river basin the water Department of the Environmentsource is located in, an approved water proposed two-year drillingmanagement plan is required as a special delay (Feb. 2011)condition of a well permit under the Oil *See “Draft Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement,” www.dec.ny.gov/energy/75370.html. The new lawand Gas Act throughout Pennsylvania. was signed on August 15, 2011.
  6. 6. Some water for fracing is withdrawn B. Water Use from pristine headwater streams, some of which may run low on water during Of the water used to frac a well, about 90 into the atmosphere when the natural gas seasonal droughts in summer and fall. percent is fresh and 10 percent is reused is combusted. This occurred a few times in Pennsylva- from a previous frac job. These numbers There is no publicly available nia, mostly in the early years of Marcel- are based strictly on withdrawals in the evidence to date that groundwater con- lus development. The SRBC considers Susquehanna River basin in Pennsylvania tamination with fluids used in hydraulic cumulative flow impacts when regulating from June 2008 to August 1, 2011 (831 fracturing has occurred as a direct result surface withdrawals to protect against wells reporting). After the fracing, about of the fracing process in the Marcellus. A loss of water for other beneficial uses by 10 percent (for these 831 wells) of the typical Marcellus gas well extends 4,000 specifying that water withdrawal must be water injected into the ground returns to to 8,500 feet into the earth. In Pennsyl- limited or stopped when certain low flow the land surface within 30 days (this por- vania, groundwater-bearing rock layers volumes are reached. In summer 2011, tion is called flowback water), and the tapped for private water wells typically SRBC ordered gas companies to stop wa- rest remains underground, absorbed by extend only 20 to 500 feet below the ter withdrawals from about 40 permitted the relatively dry shale bed. Wider ranges surface. Because of the large distances locations because of low flows. of flowback water amounts may be expe- between the Marcellus shale layer and In the Mid-Atlantic, water avail- rienced outside the Susquehanna River the much shallower “fresh” groundwater ability changes from season to season basin in Pennsylvania. tapped by drinking water wells, there is and year to year. If a drought occurs, Once the well is in production, wa- little chance that the water used to frac some surface water sources become ter generated is called produced water the Marcellus shale layer could later temporarily unavailable for Marcellus or production water. Produced water is contaminate these private water wells. withdrawals. Pennsylvania, New York, removed from the gas at the top of the Except under pressure, water does not run and both of the river basin commissions wellhead before the gas goes into the up hill. Stricter state regulations that went have or are developing rules through pipeline. This water is stored onsite and into effect in Pennsylvania in early 2011 which minimum “stream pass-by flows” periodically removed for treatment or require more protective well casing and will be established and incorporated into disposal. It is generated at lower volumes cementing practices through the ground- water withdrawal permits. Stream pass- than flowback throughout the operational water-bearing rock layers to help prevent by flows are meant to ensure that enough life of the well. this problem. water remains within the waterway to Some laypeople and water manage- There have been incidents of stray or protect the aquatic habitat and indigenous ment professionals have raised concerns migrating methane gas that has affected species as well as any downstream water about the large amounts of water that private water wells located near Marcel- quantity needs. remain below ground after fracing—that lus wells in some areas of Pennsylvania. Water quantity and quality are close- this water may be permanently (or at least Methane migration has typically been ly linked. At low flow, streams are more in the very long term) removed from the traced to faulty well casings or inad- sensitive to the addition of potential con- water cycle. At this time it is premature to equate cement seals on the wells. The taminants because less water is available conclude this because data for produced stricter well construction and casing regu- for diluting pollutants. water are limited. The shale may absorb lations in Pennsylvania should reduce the Many areas of the Mid-Atlantic, both the water. In addition to the flowback and potential for this problem to occur in the within and outside the Marcellus shale produced water that returns to the earth’s future. These regulations were strength- field, have no river basin commission surface to rejoin the water cycle once ened in response to these methane migra- focused on water quantity. This has raised treated, water vapor is released back tion incidents. a number of issues about equity and uniform permit requirements. In Pennsyl- vania, for example, PaDEP is applying SRBC’s low-flow guidelines in the area of the state outside SRBC’s and DRBC’s oversight to ensure a consistent regula- tory approach statewide.Kathy Pike, Altoona Water Authority Craig McKibben A bulk water filling station operated by A Marcellus site in Bradford County, Pa. The red tanks hold water. Altoona Water Authority, Pa.
  7. 7. C. Wastewater TreatmentOf the water used in fracing that returnsto the land surface as flowback water,some of it may be reused in another fracjob. This practice has been increasing inPennsylvania over the last several years.The average percentage of flowbackwater now reused in Pennsylvania is un-certain, but it is estimated to be about 75percent. Nearly all of this flowback wateris treated prior to reuse. Only about 5 per-cent is disposed of without treatment viaunderground injection (data from PaDEPfor July to December 2011). Flowback water presents treatmentchallenges because it contains extremelyhigh amounts of total dissolved solids(TDS). The longer frac water remainsbelow ground in contact with the shale,the more TDS, metals, and naturally oc-curring radioactivity it picks up from the Patrick Drohanrock. Produced water also contains thesepollutants, and at higher concentrationsthan in flowback. Close-up of Marcellus impoundment, Clearfield County, Pa. In Pennsylvania in 2010 new regula-tions affecting discharges of natural gas ties; or underground injection. These are Many industrial treatment plantswastewater (including both flowback discussed in more detail below. treat high-TDS wastewater by combiningand produced water) high in TDS took Most municipal wastewater treat- traditional physical/chemical processeseffect to protect water bodies and public ment plants, which use a biological treat- with thermal distillation and end updrinking water. The regulations limit the ment system, are not set up to adequately with concentrated brine that is typicallyamount of TDS and other pollutants that treat the high-TDS flowback water. All disposed of in permitted deep injectioncan be discharged into waterways. The they can do is dilute the TDS, which is disposal wells. Crystallizers have beenregulations established effluent standards insufficient given the large volume of proposed to create salt, but this waste-for natural gas wastewater of 500 mil- flowback water generated in some locali- water treatment by-product would thenligrams per liter (mg/L) for TDS, 250 ties. PaDEP asked gas drilling operators have to be landfilled, triggering anothermg/L for chlorides, and 10 mg/L for bari- to voluntarily stop using these plants for set of regulatory requirements. Other ad-um and strontium for new and expanding Marcellus wastewater disposal by May vanced wastewater treatment techniquesfacilities treating natural gas wastewa- 2011 because of mounting water qual- under development involve membranester. These four standards are based on ity concerns downstream of municipal and ultrafiltration, but these systems alsomonthly averages. Discharges of water wastewater discharge points. Agency produce a concentrated brine solution ascontaining elevated levels of TDS exist- data from 2011 indicate that statewide a waste by-product, which must be prop-ing prior to August 21, 2010, are exempt use of municipal wastewater treatment erly disposed of.from the regulation unless or until they plants accounts for less than 1 percent Only a few advanced treatment sys-expand. The May 2011 PaDEP request to of the volume of Marcellus wastewater tems are already operational in Pennsyl-the industry to cease disposal of Marcel- disposed of in the state. The discharge vania, but dozens of other technologieslus wastewater at publicly owned treat- of high volumes of treated Marcellus were in the permit application process inment plants virtually shut down this type wastewater from a biological treatment mid-2011.of treatment, although drilling wastewater system could be of particular concern for Underground injection is discussedfrom traditional shallow wells is still go- waterways that have limited ability to as- in the next section because no treatmenting to these plants. similate additional salt loadings. Bromide is performed before injection. Current options for treatment of was of special concern to state regulatorsflowback water include onsite or offsite because it combines with chlorine addeddedicated treatment facilities, a few of during public water supply treatment towhich are already operational, but many form trihalomethanes, which can causemore of which are proposed and/or under cancer in humans over the long term if inconstruction; reuse with or without pre- high enough concentration in sources oftreatment on or offsite; advanced facili- drinking water.
  8. 8. D. Wastewater Discharge/Return Reuse months of 2011, this value decreased to is not clear if these numbers reflect current Many drilling companies aim to reuse about 35 percent. At least some of these or future water flows across the region. 100 percent of the flowback water. With facilities are explicitly set up to treat West Virginia has had a wastewater report- the publicly available reporting system water and return it to the operators (the ing system since April 2010, and the first currently in place, it is difficult to as- water trucks are full in both directions). report is expected in November 2011. New certain whether the companies are able In 2011, this process of treatment and York has proposed such a system. to reach these very high levels of reuse. return of wastewater has been reported as Reuse reduces the total amount of fresh “reuse” rather than “brine or industrial” Underground Injection water needed and wastewater generated treatment, partially explaining the large In underground injection, untreated Mar- as well as associated truck trips. difference in values between the two time cellus wastewater is forced below ground It is difficult to accurately assess the periods. Likewise, reported reuse ac- out into rocks bounded above by an im- amounts of Marcellus wastewater being counted for about 25 percent of tracked permeable rock layer(s). This injection is treated and disposed of via the various wastewater during the last six months of regulated under the federal Safe Drinking paths because a system for tracking this 2010 but increased to about 55 percent Water Act and requires an underground wastewater has only recently been de- during the first six months of 2011. As injection control (UIC) permit. EPA is veloped in Pennsylvania and it needs to noted above, statistics cited here may responsible for permitting these wells in be refined to capture the true amount of indicate trends and are useful for get- Pennsylvania (about 8 wells) and New wastewater recycling. Further confusion ting a big-picture sense of the industry’s York (6 wells). The state environmental may result from inconsistencies in how water use. It is unclear from the 2011 agencies administer EPA’s Underground drilling companies self-reported waste- PaDEP database how about 5 percent of Injection Control Program in West Vir- water statistics, how to define “wastewa- the Marcellus wastewater is treated and/ ginia (74 wells), Ohio (~170 wells), and ter,” and how to classify landfilled wastes or disposed of, but the 5 percent could be Maryland (no wells). Pennsylvania’s that contain water. Given these caveats, lost in sludge or evaporate, or is within wells have little or no available capacity, according to the PaDEP data, industry re- the measurement error of the various flow so most Marcellus wastewater disposed ported that about 65 percent of the waste meters used. of via this route is trucked to West Vir- fluid went to “brine or industrial” treat- No state in the region other than ginia or Ohio. In addition, some experts ment facilities during the last six months Pennsylvania has yet reported data on believe that much of the geology of Penn- of 2010. However, during the first six Marcellus wastewater management, so it sylvania may not be suitable for these wells, but several proposed wells are un- der review by EPA. Underground injec- tion is commonly used in other shale gas fields, such as the Barnett shale in Texas, where the geology is more suitable. PaDEP data show that about 400 million gallons of Marcellus wastewater were generated in the first six months of 2011 in Pennsylvania. Twenty-one mil- lion gallons were disposed of in Ohio underground injection wells and a very small amount—about 5,000 gallons—in West Virginia underground injection wells during the same period. These data are imperfect, as discussed above. Still, the information is the best currently available. At this point it appears that out- of-state disposal accounts for relativelyRobert Donnan little in the bigger picture of the indus- try’s overall wastewater disposal. Residual wastewater tanker headed south on I-79 near Washington, Pa.
  9. 9. Accidents, Spills, and LeaksThe chemicals used in fracing may Environmental Protection requires such to meet the state’s best management prac-include oils, gels, acids, alcohols, and disclosure for companies that withdraw tice requirements, which are intended tovarious manufactured organic chemicals, more than 210,000 gallons of water per protect against environmental damage inwhich are often transported to drill pads month in the state. case of an accident, spill, or leak. Moston rural roads. The storage, treatment, The overall drilling process includes operators now use closed-loop drillingand return of these waste fluids to the numerous points where accidents, spills, mud systems, steel tanks, secondary con-environment are water quality concerns. or leaks could occur, potentially affecting tainment, and lined well pads to minimizeSRBC and DRBC require disclosure of surface and/or groundwater. These releas- the potential for a release of any fluidsthe chemicals used in well development, es could result from mechanical failure and to capture it should a release occur.although the exact ratios are proprietary. or human error. Water resources could be States and river basin commissionsPaDEP regulations that took effect in affected by a well blowout; spill of frac- are reviewing their regulatory require-2011 also require that the chemicals used ing chemicals or flowback water, includ- ments to identify ways to further protectto frac wells be submitted as part of the ing tanker truck accident; tank rupture; waterways and other natural resourceswell completion report. Under an emer- equipment failure; vandalism; or fire. As in the face of accidents, spills, and leaksgency order issued by the governor in a condition of their stormwater manage- related to Marcellus drilling.July 2011, West Virginia Department of ment permits, gas companies are required Robert DonnanActive Marcellus drilling site and impoundment, Greene County, Pa.
  10. 10. ConclusionWater’s journey through the Marcellus activities in states in the Marcellus region States that are now or will develop data-shale drilling and production processes can meet the applicable standards to pro- bases could learn from the revisions tois complex and roundabout. Some water tect water resources. Pennsylvania’s database.no longer cycles because it is trapped in Throughout the region the rami- Future developments to watch forthe shale as a consequence of hydraulic fications of the different states’ policy include new regulations and legislationfracturing. We need to understand where responses to the recent boom in gas in- in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Ohio, Newthe water from this industry comes from, dustry exploration and development in York, and West Virginia; the potentialhow it is handled and what the industry the Marcellus region remain unclear. As for a greater role for the U.S. EPA inadds to it, how it is treated, and how of December 2011, New York, Maryland, management and oversight of gas wellmuch of it returns to the water cycle. We West Virginia, and the Delaware River wastewater reuse and disposal; river ba-also need to know about places where Basin Commission have yet to establish sin commission rulemaking; out-of-basinwater essentially leaves the water cycle clear policies and administrative rules and out-of-state flows of fresh water andor is moved across watershed boundaries. for permitting well drilling and water wastewater; radioactivity in wastewater;Having this knowledge helps us identify withdrawals. The evolving nature of wa- potential innovation in wastewater treat-points of concern about water quality ter resources policy is a source of great ment technologies; increased reuse ofand/or quantity. uncertainty influencing development of wastewater; and improved systems for This publication discusses water use the Marcellus shale gas play. The pace of tracking Marcellus freshwater and waste-by the industry at multiple levels—re- institutional change is rapid, but the pace water flows.gional, local, and the drilling pad itself. At of industrial change is even faster. Checkeach level different issues are important. the resources below for updated informa-For example, at a regional level, some wa- tion.ter managers are concerned about tracking The other source of uncertainty re-out-of-basin transfers of water for fracing lated to water in the Marcellus industryand wastewater treatment. At the local is how and where its wastewater will belevel, we want to be sure that streams are treated and discharged or disposed in thenot dewatered (pass-by flow requirements future. There is a rush to develop newwould prevent this), especially during treatment technologies and permit anddrought. At the drilling pad level, concerns build new treatment plants, but capacity isoften center around what chemicals are still lacking within Pennsylvania. Only aadded to the frac water and the potential small percentage of Marcellus wastewaterfor damage to local water resources due to leaves Pennsylvania, but it’s unclear whataccidents, spills, and leaks. would happen if Pennsylvania was forced Water acquisition and water dis- to handle all wastes that are now disposedcharge/return illustrate how the decisions of via underground injection, landfills, andmade within one state, such as Penn- treatment facilities in other states.sylvania’s recent call to the natural gas Note again that some of the data pre-industry to stop sending Marcellus waste- sented here are preliminary and are basedwater to municipal wastewater treatment on the industry’s self-reporting to a newplants, affect other states—in this case by database that has acknowledged weak-transportation of wastewater to Ohio and nesses and is currently under revision.West Virginia treatment facilities and un- The data presented are for Pennsylvaniaderground injection wells. The transport only because the industry’s developmentof water or wastewater across state and/ is farthest along there and that is whereor river basin lines interrupts the water data are available. Numbers will likelycycle, although the amount of interbasin vary for other states based on local condi-transfers currently occurring is a rela- tions. This publication points out defi-tively small volume of water. ciencies in our knowledge about water’s Aside from the land area within the journey through the Marcellus shale natu-Delaware River basin, the Marcellus area ral gas drilling and production process.is not covered by one river basin com- The caveats about the data also pointmission with both water quantity and out the need for better Marcellus waterquality regulatory authority. Because of and wastewater data systems in Pennsyl-this, there may be a lack of consideration vania. Ideally, data systems should be de-for the broader watershed picture. Water veloped collaboratively among states indoesn’t stop flowing at state boundar- the region so that valid data comparisonsies. More interstate and possibly federal could be made across states and out-of-cooperation and coordination may be basin transfers of water could be tracked.needed to ensure that gas exploration
  11. 11. Resources AcknowledgmentsAbdalla, C., and J. Drohan. “Marcellus Susquehanna River Basin Commission. This material is based on work supportedEducation Fact Sheet: Water Withdrawals “Managing and Protecting Water in part by the National Institute of Foodfor Development of Marcellus Shale Gas Resources in the Susquehanna River and Agriculture, U.S. Department ofin Pennsylvania.” University Park: Penn Basin.” Presented August 19, 2010, at Agriculture, under Agreement No. 2008-State Cooperative Extension, 2010. pubs Marywood University. 51130-19500. Sincere thanks to the fol-.cas.psu.edu/FreePubs/pdfs/ua460.pdf www.srbc.net/programs/docs/JLRH%20 lowing reviewers for helpful comments presentation%20MarywoodUniversity and suggestions:Abdalla, C., J. Drohan, B. Swistock, and .pdf. • Paula Ballaron, manager, policy imple-S. Boser. “Marcellus Shale Gas Well mentation and outreach, and AndrewDrilling: Regulations to Protect Water Swistock, B. “Water Facts #28: Gas Well Gavin, manager, monitoring and pro-Supplies in Pennsylvania.” University Drilling and Your Private Water Supply.” tection program, Susquehanna RiverPark: Penn State Cooperative Extension, University Park: Penn State Cooperative Basin Commission2011. extension.psu.edu/water/marcellus Extension, 2011. extension.psu.edu • Jim Clark, extension educator, McKean-shale/regulations/regulations-to-protect /water/marcellus-shale/drinking-water County; Tom Murphy, extension educa--water-supplies-in-pennsylvania-1. /gas-well-drilling-and-your-private tor, Lycoming County, and codirector -water-supply-2/gas-well-drilling-and of the Marcellus Center for OutreachAbdalla, C., J. Drohan, K. Saacke Blunk, -your-private-water-supply/view. and Research; and David Yoxtheimer,and J. Edson. “Marcellus Shale Wastewa- extension associate in earth and mineralter Issues in Pennsylvania—Current and West Virginia Department of Environ- sciences, Penn StateEmerging Treatment and Disposal Tech- mental Protection, Resources from the • Libby Ford, senior environmentalnologies.” University Park: Penn State Office of Oil and Gas: www.dep.wv.gov health engineer, Nixon PeabodyCooperative Extension, 2011. extension /oil-and-gas/Resources/Pages/default.psu.edu/water/marcellus-shale/waste .aspx. • Elizabeth Nolan and Trisha Salvia, as--water/current-and-emerging-treatment sistant counsels, Bureau of Regulatory-and-disposal-technologies-1. Counsel; Eugene Pine, chief, subsur- face activities section, Bureau of OilDelaware River Basin Commission: and Gas Management; and Seth Pelep-www.state.nj.us/drbc ko, Bureau of Planning and Program Management, Pennsylvania DepartmentNew York State Department of Environ- of Environmental Protectionmental Conservation (NYSDEC). “Pre- Any opinions, findings, conclusions, orliminary Revised Draft Supplemental Ge- recommendations expressed in this pub-neric Environmental Impact Statement on lication are those of the author(s) and dothe Oil, Gas, and Solution Mining Regu- not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S.latory Program, Well Permit Issuance for Department of Agriculture.Horizontal Drilling and High-VolumeHydraulic Fracturing to Develop the Mar- Prepared by Charles Abdalla, professor of ag-cellus Shale and Other Low-Permeability ricultural and environmental economics, PennGas Reservoirs.” Albany: NYSDEC, Di- State; Joy Drohan, freelance science writer andvision of Mineral Resources, 2011. editor; Brian Rahm, research associate, Newwww.dec.ny.gov/energy/75370.html. York State Water Resources Institute; Jeffrey Jacquet, Ph.D. candidate, Department of Natu- ral Resources, Cornell University; John Becker,Penn State Extension Natural Gas Web- professor emeritus of agricultural economicssite: extension.psu.edu/naturalgas and law, Penn State; Alan Collins, professor of agricultural and resource economics, WestPennsylvania Department of Environ- Virginia University; Allen Klaiber, assistantmental Protection Marcellus Information: professor of agricultural economics, Ohiowww.portal.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt State; Gregory Poe, professor of environmental/community/marcellus_shale/20296 policy, Cornell University; and Deb Grantham, water resources specialist, Cornell University.Susquehanna River Basin Commission:www.srbc.net
  12. 12. A cooperative effort ofPenn State,Cornell University,West Virginia University,Ohio State Universityextension.psu.eduPenn State College of Agricultural Sciences re-search and extension programs are funded in part byPennsylvania counties, the Commonwealth of Penn-sylvania, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.This publication is available from the PublicationsDistribution Center, The Pennsylvania State Univer-sity, 112 Agricultural Administration Building, Uni-versity Park, PA 16802. For information telephone814-865-6713.Where trade names appear, no discrimination isintended, and no endorsement by Penn State Coop-erative Extension is implied.This publication is available in alternativemedia on request.The Pennsylvania State University is committed tothe policy that all persons shall have equal accessto programs, facilities, admission, and employ-ment without regard to personal characteristics notrelated to ability, performance, or qualificationsas determined by University policy or by state orfederal authorities. It is the policy of the Universityto maintain an academic and work environmentfree of discrimination, including harassment. ThePennsylvania State University prohibits discrimina-tion and harassment against any person because ofage, ancestry, color, disability or handicap, nationalorigin, race, religious creed, sex, sexual orientation,gender identity, or veteran status. Discrimination orharassment against faculty, staff, or students will notbe tolerated at The Pennsylvania State University.Direct all inquiries regarding the nondiscrimina-tion policy to the Affirmative Action Director, ThePennsylvania State University, 328 Boucke Build-ing, University Park, PA 16802-5901; Tel 814-865-4700/V, 814-863-1150/TTY.Produced by Ag Communications and Marketing© The Pennsylvania State University 2012Code # EE0023 3.8M4/12CT 5133