Small Water Treatment Company
In the Spring of 2010, the Ben Franklin Technology Partnership CNP engaged with a small water treatment company located in Franklin, PA. The company had developed a new method for treating the frac water effluent from Marcellus wells that dramatically reduced the amount of dissolved solids in the water. Presently, most of this waste water is diluted to an acceptable level by discharging it into a larger water flow like a river. At the moment, the scale of Marcellus activity, which has not yet reached its peak, is approaching the limit of available water flows to dilute the water to safe, acceptable levels. Without another approach, the waste water will have to be transported to other areas, stored, or treated with expensive methods.
This company in Franklin may have found at least a partial solution to this problem. They remove the solids in a separate treatment and disposal process, leaving much “cleaner” water that requires a substantially smaller volume of water to dilute for discharge. If the technology proves feasible, it could greatly expand the amount of drilling that existing water supplies in the Commonwealth could support, i.e. allowing more of this “cleaned” frac water be introduced into waterways without harming the environment or exceeding safety limits. Presently, the company has the technology working on bench scale. Ben Franklin is assisting the company in moving to pilot scale by sponsoring the development of a pilot plant and verification testing of the resulting products and waste water.