News Feature | January 2, 2014

Treating Fracking Wastewater May Churn Out Commodities

Sara Jerome

By Sara Jerome


A treatment plant for fracking wastewater is trying out a new business model, wading into the field of sales. 

The plant takes in "oil and gas production water and, after distilling it as they do now, the plants will then be able to separate more metals from the concentrated brine that would otherwise be trucked to Ohio and injected into a deep well,"  the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported

Selling those components may be a lucrative new avenue for the plant.

"Starting in January, Daniel Ertel's wastewater processing plant in Williamsport, PA will start churning out commodities: Oil. Methanol. Sodium chloride," the Post-Gazette said. 

The component parts are not dangerous, Ertel told the Post-Gazette. Ertel is the CEO of Eureka Resources. 

"They make water a waste, but when they're extracted, they're things we use every day," he said. 

So what can Ertel sell off?

"The oil separated from the water will be sold to wholesalers, he said. The methanol will be sold right back to the oil and gas producers who use it as a dehydrator and an antifreeze agent," the report explained.  

Talks with buyers are ongoing. "Mr. Ertel is in the middle of negotiations with several manufacturers and distributors for the sodium chloride, which will be used as an industrial salt for fertilizers or animal feed. There are many other constituents in the brine that have an active trading market," the report explained. 

It is not an easy road for those trying to make a profit on fracking waste products. 

"Several other companies interested in slicing Marcellus waste products into commodities have hit financing road blocks over the past few years," the report said. 

For previous fracking coverage on Water Online, click here.

Image credit: “Shale Beds Pule Hill," © 2008 :mrMark:, used under an Attribution 2.0 Generic license:

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