Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=2176530
 


 



Wastewater Management and Marcellus Shale Gas Development: Trends, Drivers, and Planning Implications


Brian G. Rahm


Cornell University - New York State Water Resources Institute

Josephine Bates


Cornell University - New York State Water Resources Institute

Lara R. Bertoia


Cornell University - New York State Water Resources Institute

Amy E. Galford


Cornell University - New York State Water Resources Institute

David Yoxtheimer


Pennsylvania State University - Marcellus Center for Outreach and Research

Susan Riha


Cornell University - New York State Water Resources Institute

November 16, 2012

Journal of Environmental Management, Vol. 120, 2013, pages 105-113

Abstract:     
Extraction of natural gas from tight shale formations, which occur globally, has been made possible by recent technological advances, including hydraulic fracturing with horizontal drilling. Shale gas development is being lauded as a potential energy and geopolitical “game-changer.” However, widespread concern exists with respect to possible environmental consequences of this development, particularly impacts on water resources. In the United States, where most shale gas extraction has occurred thus far, the Marcellus Shale is now the largest natural gas producing play. To date, over 6,000,000 m3 of wastewater has been generated in the process of extracting natural gas from this shale in the state on Pennsylvania (PA) alone. Here we examine wastewater management practices and trends for this shale play, as well as the tracking and transport of shale gas liquid waste streams in PA. Between 2008 and 2011, state regulations and policies, along with low natural gas prices, have led to increased wastewater reuse, decreased POTW use, and more complete data tracking, while the average distance traveled by wastewater has decreased by over 30%. Regional differences in wastewater management are influenced by industrial treatment capacity, as well as proximity to injection disposal capacity. Using lessons from the Marcellus Shale, we suggest that nations, states, and regulatory agencies facing new unconventional shale development implement wastewater reporting and tracking systems, assess local and regional wastewater treatment infrastructure in terms of capacity and capability, promote well-regulated on-site treatment technologies, and review and update wastewater management regulations and policies.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 34

Keywords: Marcellus, hydraulic fracturing, wastewater, shale gas, energy-water nexus

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Date posted: November 17, 2012 ; Last revised: March 25, 2013

Suggested Citation

Rahm, Brian G. and Bates, Josephine and Bertoia, Lara R. and Galford, Amy E. and Yoxtheimer, David and Riha, Susan, Wastewater Management and Marcellus Shale Gas Development: Trends, Drivers, and Planning Implications (November 16, 2012). Journal of Environmental Management, Vol. 120, 2013, pages 105-113. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2176530 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2176530

Contact Information

Brian G. Rahm (Contact Author)
Cornell University - New York State Water Resources Institute ( email )
Cornell University
1123 Bradfield Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853
United States
HOME PAGE: http://wri.eas.cornell.edu/
Josephine Bates
Cornell University - New York State Water Resources Institute ( email )
1023 Bradfield Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853-1901
United States
Lara R. Bertoia
Cornell University - New York State Water Resources Institute ( email )
1023 Bradfield Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853-1901
United States
Amy E. Galford
Cornell University - New York State Water Resources Institute ( email )
1023 Bradfield Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853-1901
United States
David Yoxtheimer
Pennsylvania State University - Marcellus Center for Outreach and Research ( email )
320 Earth-Engineering Sciences (EES) Building
University Park, PA 16802
United States
Susan Riha
Cornell University - New York State Water Resources Institute ( email )
Ithaca, NY 14853
United States
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