Energy. Environment. Economy.

More Drillers Are Recycling Their Fracking Fluid

Scott Detrow / StateImpact Pennsylvania

These bins at a Cabot fracking fluid recycling facility separate water from brine and chemicals

More natural gas drillers are treating and reusing their hydraulic fracturing fluid. The Wall Street Journal provides an update on the trend:

After a well is fracked, contractors typically clean the water that flows back out of the well by filtering it or adding a chemical that attracts small solid particles, making it easier to remove these contaminants. Some companies treat water at the well, while others bring it to a facility built nearby.

Fourteen percent of water used to frack a well in central Pennsylvania is now recycled, up from less than 1% two years ago, according to the Susquehanna River Basin Commission, which monitors water usage.

Clay Terry, strategic business manager of Halliburton’s Water Solutions unit, said operators in areas such as Texas have been slow to embrace recycling, largely because using injection wells there is fairly inexpensive. But there are growing economic benefits to recycling water, he said, and political ones, too.

For more on how water is used during the fracking process, check out this “Burning Questions” article we published last year.


  • Liz Rosenbaum

    Great. But I still wouldn’t want to drink it!

    What happens next? Do they use it for another frack, or re-introduce it into the watershed via a traditional treatment plant? We all live downstream. Personally, I don’t want to be a guinea pig, raising guinea piglets.

  • William Huston

    It is not true that most waste fluids in PA are recycled. “Recycling waste fluids” only separates and concentrates the waste. “Recycling” translates on disposal problem into a different one.

    Read more:

  • reality

    The power generated to run your website and laptop have to come from somewhere. Wind and solar will not do it. Find a happy medium. You didn’t like coal before so now they are using this.

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