With a Pennsylvania regulation becoming law that prevents the discharge of incompletely treated hydrofracturing (frac) water from natural gas drilling into area rivers, Altela Inc., a water treatment company based in Albuquerque, N.M., has begun implementation of the solution to the frac water problem at a plant in Williamsport, Pa., by treating 100,000 gallons a day of frac water to better-than-drinking-water standards. This successfully treated water can be used again for hydrofracturing, or put into our rivers with no harmful effects to people or wildlife.
“The treatment of Marcellus Shale flowback frac water in Pennsylvania has
successfully begun,” says Altela CEO Ned Godshall.
Under the new regulation, natural gas drilling companies will no longer be
permitted to take frac wastewater to facilities throughout Pennsylvania that
failed to properly remove salt and other contaminates before releasing the
water into rivers. The regulation comes after authorities discovered high
levels of bromide, other harmful chemicals and total dissolved solids (TDS) in
river water sampling. The new Altela technology in Williamsport, at Clean
Streams LLC, successfully removes salts and contaminants to safe standards,
according to state and federal officials.
“With 4 million gallons of water generated from a single natural gas well, it’s
imperative water treatment plants find a safe and effective way to treat frac
water,” says Altela CEO Ned Godshall. Godshall, who grew up in central
Pennsylvania, views the state’s ability to properly treat its frac water as
paramount to the success of the natural gas drilling in the Marcellus
Thousands of jobs are at risk if natural gas companies in Pennsylvania cannot
meet regulations. A study by Penn State estimated more than 215,000 jobs with
an average salary of $79,184 would be created by natural gas drilling in
Pennsylvania by 2015, if the industry can thrive.
Altela’s technology treats water by mimicking mother nature’s process of making
rain The mechanics are simple – each AltelaRain tower is composed of two
chambers. Steam and ambient temperature air, taken from a heat stream or waste
heat, circulate throughout the two chambers. As brackish water enters one
chamber, it evaporates by passing through the steam. The water’s contaminants
fall to the bottom and exit the chamber. Next, dry air is pumped into the
bottom of chamber, which carries the evaporated water molecules into the other
chamber. From there, the water is condensed into clean water droplets. As the
water condenses, it becomes colder, and emits heat that re-enters the other
chamber and evaporates the brackish water.
Frac Water Treatment Meets New Regs
October 1, 2011