Monday, November 16, 2009

Water Solutions?

Unfortunately I was not able to go to the second annual Haynesville Shale Expo, held in Shreveport last week.  I did note an article in the Shreveport Times about one of the presentations, where the speaker, Gary Hanson, Director of the LSU-Shreveport Red River Watershed Management Institute, declared that there's been "a paradigm shift in the past few months in how the industry looks at water and it started here."  Hanson noted that most of the big Haynesville producers, at least in Louisiana, have been using surface water or other alternatives to underground aquifers, including pond water, water piped from the Red River or various forms of recycled water, in the hydraulic fracturing process. 

The conservation of drinking water aquifers has been a big positive step in the Haynesville Play and is one that requires continual monitoring.  Recently, the Louisiana DNR Office of Conservation issued guidelines aimed at preventing the use of drinking water for industrial uses.  This would keep drillers from using water from ponds that were filled by drinking water wells to circumvent these guidelines. 

The recent commotion over water in the Marcellus Shale over water is wider-reaching.  Residents of the Appalachian region are concerned about the sources for the millions of gallons of water required for fracking, but they are also worried about the chemicals that are part of the drilling fluids and the management of the waste water from the gas wells.  Those are not issues that will be quickly or easily resolved.  They are, however, not entirely new for the region. Coal mining has polluted waterways and groundwater for the past century.  Perhaps the recent uprising has as much to do with Appalachian residents' inability to go back in time and better regulate the environmental impact of the coal industry as it does with the current situation.

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