by S. Tom Bond on September 19, 2015
Public Meeting in Doddridge County on Proposed Antero Wastewater Treatment Facility
Commentary by S. Tom Bond, Jane Lew, Lewis County, WV
The Doddridge County Commission held a public meeting Tuesday evening, September 15, on the Proposed Antero Wastewater Treatment Facility along Route 50. The plan is to locate it at approximately 39o 16′ N and 80o 54′ W, near Greenwood in that county.
The principal speaker was the General Manager of the Area for Antero, which has large holdings in northwest West Virginia and southeast Ohio.
The purpose of the facility is to receive wastewater from wells which have been subject to slick water fracturing and return it to a state where it can be reused in the industry. Antero already has an extensive system of pipes for fresh water, he said, consisting of 103 miles of buried lines, 80 miles of temporary lines and 24 impoundments in West Virginia. This helps them when it is dry and fresh water streams are too low. It also helps reduce the miles water trucks must travel.
The new facility will cost $1.5 million, and have capacity to receive 100 tanker truck loads a day. It was claimed that the salt produced could be used for roads, and would be “merchantable,” but a landfill is being installed adjacent to the plant. The water would be used exclusively for further fracking. The audience was assured there would be no damage from the natural radioactivity which accompanies Marcellus waste. This caused a great deal of opposition in the comment period afterwards, including from a land fill expert.
The speaker, when pressed, said they would allow third party sampling of the products produced. In the comment period practically all comment was against allowing the plant. The one speaker for the plant announced he worked for Antero before he began. One lady reminded the Antero people that the local community had not only the present to consider, but the effect on their children and heirs. When asked how long the plastic sheet on the bottom of the holding ponds would last, the speaker replied “for a thousand years.”
This author is a trained chemist with some additional knowledge of toxicology. He was appalled by the complete absence of chemistry and chemical engineering in the presentation. When the speaker was touting the expertise that went into the plant all he talked about was the architect they hired to plan it. It seems strange that a new process of this scale would be attempted without chemical knowledge of how the process worked, since it is, apparently, a first.
The speaker talked as though he did not understand that “brine” and “salt” did not mean sodium chloride solution, but is a far more general term applied to other compounds and mixtures. What comes up as flowback and produced water is a complex, highly variable mixture, varying from place to place and time to time from the same well. How does this relate to the idea the salt would be merchantable?
The claim that polyethylene sheets used in holding ponds would last 1000 years is disquieting, also. Sounds like a project engineered by MBA’s. But, heck, if it can get past the regulatory agencies and local officials, none of which has the right kind of expertise to understand the process, why not use it? Right?