The Freshwater and Liquid Waste Impact of Unconventional Oil and Gas in Ohio and West Virginia

Track 2A: Understanding the Water Budget
Thursday, October 12, 2017, 2:00 pm – 3:10 pm

Ted Auch
The FracTracker Alliance

The fracking industry in Appalachia uses 38-39 million liters per well, with demand increasing by 15% per year. Water quantity and associated watershed security issues are acute and chronic concerns at the local level where hydraulic fracturing’s freshwater demands equal 14% of residential demands and exceed 85% of residential demand in several Ohio and West Virginia counties. The industry has taken 340.7 million liters out of county’s underlying watersheds permanently resulting in the production of 36.3 million liters of brine waste, which is then disposed of in one of Ohio’s Class II Injection Wells with the industry spending approximately 1.95% of available capital on water demand(s) and waste disposal. This amounts to 10.7-11.8% of “available” water on a watershed basis prompting broad concerns about this industry’s sustainability. Hydraulic fracturing’s demand is becoming an increasingly larger component of water withdrawals as industry, livestock, and mining become more efficient with respect to water utilization. Wells that are drilled at the perimeter of the Utica Shale are utilizing 1.25 to 2.5 times more water than those that are staged in the shale “Sweet Spots”.