Abstract

An assessment framework to identify viable technologies for processing wastewater generated in shale gas drilling, completion and production operations in Ohio was created. This work was completed under a contract with Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (OEPA) and Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) as called for in Ohio Senate Bill 315 – a bill that provides critical regulatory components for Ohio shale gas operations. State agencies can use this assessment framework to review proposed wastewater treatment technologies with the goal of reducing both the volume of fresh water taken from streams and rivers for hydraulic fracturing and the reliance on injection wells for disposal of wastewater fluids.

The project team worked with stakeholders to reach consensus on criteria to assess the wastewater treatment technologies. This included selection of evaluation categories, identification of key technology attributes and determination of performance metrics. The regulatory requirements for evaluation of wastewater treatment technologies were interpreted and translated into a usable tool for identification of key issues. Finally, several case studies were performed to demonstrate application of the assessment framework for different technology approaches.

The assessment process provides a mechanism for dialogue between the industry and regulators regarding proposed wastewater processing technologies or approaches. It can also be used to identify strengths and weaknesses of different technologies, as needs and priorities for wastewater treatment evolve. Finally, the assessment process can be implemented for efficient screening of proposed water handling solutions against a user-specific set of criteria.

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