Fracked wells in West Texas don’t just produce petroleum. Much more than anything else, they spit up salty, mucky water.
Typically, companies have discarded that fluid, hundreds of millions of gallons per day, by injecting it back underground, occasionally causing small earthquakes. But as water becomes more scarce, they’re beginning to reconsider.
For now, hydraulic fracturing in arid West Texas uses large amounts of fresh aquifer water to crack open subterranean shales, unleashing a mixture of oil, gas and fossil brine 10 times as salty as the sea.
Increasingly, frackers are starting to reuse that brine, easing their burden on aquifers.
“We’ve just month by month seen extraordinary growth in the volumes we are managing,” said Matthew Gabriel, CEO of XRI Holdings, which recycles oilfield wastewater in the Permian Basin, the nation’s top oil-producing region. (From Inside Climate News)