Fracking is often criticized for the amount of water it consumes, with a common figure given of 2-3 million gallons per well.  One way to look at this is to ask what amount of rainfall would be needed to replace this.

Let's take an actual example.  A drilling unit near me covers 351 acres,  with two drilling pads.  There is no actual work started but both pads have been issued permits.  One pad has 1 horizontal bore, the other has 3.  Let's assume that the greatest amount of water will be used--3 million gallons for each of the 4 legs.  To produce the required 12 million gallons would require rainfall of 1.26 inches on 351 acres.  Even in the driest month, October, with an average monthly rainfall in Pittsburgh of 2.25 inches, this means that the water required for fracking all legs would be replaced in just 17 days of rain on just this unit.

Of course, the drillers are not going to use rainfall as a water source.  They'll probably take water from the creek.  I couldn't find the flow rate of our creek but for one of similar size I found 80 cubic feet/second.  The total 12 million gallons could be taken from the creek in less than 6 hours, if it were taken all at once.  In other words, every day the creek carries 4 times as much water  as needed to frack all 4 legs.

To me this doesn't seem like a large amount of water.  But it would still be of concern, if the groundwater were a valuable resource.  But it's not, at least not in Pennsylvania, at least for most of the year.  Right now, my soil is saturated.  All across the hillside below our house, there are springs every 100-200 feet, pouring out water that eventually finds its way to the Ohio river.  I know that there are cities and industries that use this water, but they use only a small amount.  Look, if anyone thinks the water is valuable, they are welcome to take it.  But no-one is taking it.  Remember, all the river dams in this part of the country are to control flooding and for navigation and some hydroelectric power. None were built to save water.

I just can't see water consumption by tracking as a problem.

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Unless things have changed, the last I heard:  the results of using this method of fracturing are encouraging, but more testing needed done to get the results needed to be competitive. If you have new news about using propane, please post a link here if you would. I  would be all for using propane, if it can actually be done safely and environmentally friendly.....which I have not researched the specifics of, as of yet.

I think the recycling of the water is the short term direction that needs to be taken, and is being taken by some right now.

Craig, a drawback to the gas-frac (especially for dry gas wells) is that it would require downstream processing to recover the propane. Probably not a problem with wet gas wells ie. SWPA, but to add processing facilities that would only be required for the recovery of fracing propane used in dry gas wells will probably be uneconomical.
  Trying to find the link regarding a recently completed CHK well in OH using a nitrogen frac. When I find it, I'll post it here.

What i'm not hearing in this forum is what  I feel is a much larger conern , that being with the flow back water . It not only comes back with what it was sent down hole with but a host of other chemicals and radidioactive materials , this is increased with the re use of spent frac water .

I feel that it needs to be closley followed from point of recovery to injection . Here's were I have see greed can take over . 

Before anyone decides to call me a green weinnie I am total pro oil and gas PERIOD .

I think you're right. This is a huge issue -and if it was addressed seriously I think a lot of the opposition to fracking would quiet down.

roughneck, I agree about the safety of propane, but I'm willing to keep the door open to the idea of using something different if possible. Especially if proves to be a leap forward in oil field practices.

Quietly dump the water?  Every barrel is tracked and reported to proper state agencies.  You think a cleanup would be more cost-effective than proper disposal??

 

And as far as the GasFrac, sure in theory it would be great but it's pricey AND scares the daylights out of the operators on site.  A few dozens pump-trucks going full-tilt is a lot of horsepower... now throw in huge amounts of propane.  Its worrisome until they can fully roll out the technology and not just pilot and pet projects.

Just curious - if every barrel is tracked and reported, how was it possible for Allan's Waste Water Services to illegally dump multiple truckloads of waste water, including fracking flowback water, over a period of six years? http://www.observer-reporter.com/or/story11/02-10-2012-Shipman-pleads

And there are other cases - Swamp Angel Energy in 2010 http://pittsburghcitizen.org/story/gas-drillers-plead-guilty-felony... 

Those were intentional - not accidental. As was another case in December - http://www.wnep.com/wnep-man-charged-with-dumping-800-gallons-of-fr...  

So, again, just wondering: if every barrel lis tracked and reported, how did the first two get away with multiple illegal dumps, and why would the third try?

No - I don't think a clean-up would be more cost effective than proper disposal - but obviously if the materials can be dumped illegally, and no one finds out, there must be some incentive.

I guess it's who you know , who's watching the hen house if you what I mean  .

This kinda thing should never happen and those caught should go to jail and throw away the KEY and never be in the business again .

Yes, I am well aware of these instances.  These are the disposal services - its up to a company to choose a reputable service provider, I think everyone would agree, but no one is flowing their wells back into the local creeks, or opening up the water trucks once they leave the pad.

Essentially, you are referring to organized crime and I don't think you can hold an industry accountable for those extreme outliers.

Agreed area man, that's my point . There is a few shallow well developers have done just that , dumping spent frac water to save  money ,Thats a fact  .

There's a sight called landman report card that exposes lets call them short falls in the industry . 

To my knowledge no one in the deep shale has done this kind of thing or would dream of it . 

Carol,

The incentive is called money.  When a hauler can shave 400 miles and 8 hours of drive time off of his cost structure by only driving 5 miles to an obscure spot, he profits.  We aren't talking about guys who are overly intelligent, they are greedy and stupid.  The checks and balances that are in place will eventually reveal their illegal activities.  Their fraudulent delivery receipts will discovered when they don't match up with the receipts at the facilities that are licensed to treat and dispose of frac water.  These stupid and greedy individuals fortunately don't outnumber the overwhelming majority of contractors that do exactly what they are hired to do.  All the legislation and regulation in the world won't stop criminals, the overflowing prison systems have proven that.  But don't place legitimate oil and gas operators into the same box with these criminals.

Radioactive materials naturally  occur under ground Drill , maybe a small amount comes from other sources .

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