Why Hydraulic Fracturing Produced Water Disposal in Texas May not be the Best Option

June, 2014 by Alma Abell

Hydraulic fracturing produced water disposal in Texas should be done carefully. Environmental groups have continuously talked about sustainable energy. Hydraulic fracturing has also received attention from environmentalists. However, this is not a hot discussion topic but a debate.

One of the major concerns of environmentalists regarding hydraulic fracturing is the high amount of fresh water that it consumes. Despite the fact that hydraulic fracturing operations produce high amounts of oil and gas, they consume massive amount of fresh water. In return, some of this water comes to the surface of the well as flow back.

Flow back contains enormous amount of chemicals and toxic elements. This implies that if it finds its way into the water bodies it can negatively affect aquatic organisms. It can also adversely affect the environment where it flows along. These are some of the concerns of the environmentalists in Texas.

In the past, this water was re-injected in the disposal wells. This eliminated water from the evaporation cycle of fresh water. Nevertheless, it also increased the cost of operating oil and gas companies. Thus, this is not effective as compared to treating this water. There are companies that offer water treatment solutions for this water. Treating water makes it fresh again ensuring that it is suitable for use in the hydro-fracturing units.

This implies that instead of engaging in produced water disposal in Texas, gas and oil producing companies should treat this water. Each fracturing well needs about five million gallons of water to continue with its operations. This water is pumped into the well under high pressure fracturing the rocks that hold gas oil. This water eventually flows back to the surface of the well with high amount of toxic chemicals. The water also has high amount of fractured rock and other materials that are carried by the water.

Although some companies reuse this water, they first store in in ponds. These ponds can leak. After storage, the water is diluted which requires another massive amount of fresh water. In most cases, these companies ship the produced water to long distances where specialized treatment is done before the water is disposed.

Transporting this water to disposal locations is expensive. It is also associated with spills risk. At the disposal sites, this water is usually injected in the deep disposal wells and it may cause earthquakes. This explains why produced water disposal is not the best option and instead, it should be treated.

Hydraulic fracturing produced water disposal in Texas may not be the best option. Instead, effective treatment should be embraced. You can visit Hedenvironmentalsystems.com for more details.

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