Chesapeake Energy (NYSE: CHK) is a major developer in Ohio’s Utica shale formation. Currently running seven wells in Ohio, the company hopes to have as many as 30 by 2014.
And with such heavy production comes the responsibilities, we hope, of safe drilling practices.
That’s why Chesapeake, working with Rettew Flowback Inc., has developed a process of water treatment and wastewater recycling.
Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, requires a large amount of water mixed with sand and chemicals to break apart the shale formations and release the natural gas within.
And this water, once its full of chemicals, must be disposed of carefully.
The system developed by Rettew Flowback for Chesapeake can treat between 250 and 300 barrels of water each hour. It removes the mud and brine from wastewater, allowing Chesapeake to reuse it for drilling and reducing the amount of chemicals when it is disposed in injection wells.
And around 95% of the wastewater put through the treatment system can be reused in drilling.
So far only one system of this kind is in operation, though Chesapeake has indicated that it would like to build more.
The existing system is located in Carroll County, Ohio, and employs 15 locals full time.
Liquid waste from fracking operations is disposed of in injection wells. There are currently 177 of these in Ohio, though one was recently closed for investigation after a number of earthquakes shook the area.
Environmental investigations are ongoing in this drilling and disposal process to determine and ensure the safety of fracking.
But Chesapeake is doing its part by recycling water and minimizing the toxins in wastewater.