Salt water from gas wells not likely a product of fracking
William MacGregor is pointing his finger at the wrong people when he complains about the disposal of frac water.
First, I suspect that the “offending” water isn’t frac water, but rather brine water that is always part of shale gas production.
At our Alden Aurora Gas company, we have been drilling gas wells into the Medina since 1924. Hydrofracturing was/is accomplished by using a mixture of water and sand and a minute amount of a “propagating” agent to help get the sand into the fissures caused by the fracturing and thus leaving areas for the gas to collect in. The frac water is retrieved and carted off by a New York State-licensed hauler at considerable expense to the gas company.
Once production begins, inevitably indigenous brine water gets into the well. As an aside, well tending is an art accomplished by experienced personnel.
If you get greedy and produce a well too fast, you’re in danger of flooding the well with brine water. Good well tending takes gas while maintaining well pressure which holds back the entry of the brine water.
Periodically the brine water that does get into the well is blown off — we used to just spray it around the well and the salt would kill off the surrounding grass.
Now the DEC has us capturing the water in tanks, which you can see next to any New York State gas well and when it nears getting full, only a licensed hauler may come and take it away (again at cost to the producing gas company) and yes, this brine water, free of any artificially introduced chemicals, often ends up being part of dust control.
I don’t like it anymore than the dry mined salt that the highways department puts on the road as both cause cars to rust and virtually are the same product.
Stirlin Harris, President
Alden Aurora Gas Company