Independent researcher Battelle is deploying scientists and engineers to Ohio to collaborate with state regulators about solving water issues at Marcellus and Utica shale drilling sites with new technology.

The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (OEPA) and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources plan to collaborate with Battelle to identify technologies suitable for the state that would increase water reuse and decrease wastewater injection.

The three-way partnership follows enactment of Ohio Senate Bill 315, which became law in June. It provides components for the regulatory framework for horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing (fracking) operations in the state and in Marcellus and Utica leaseholds across the region.

The bill, signed in June by Gov. John Kasich, strengthened state rules on fracking and added rules covering wastewater disposal in injection wells (see Shale Daily, June 14).

“This is another example of creating public-private partnerships…to establish a framework for identifying viable technologies for recycling and reusing wastewater generated from oil and gas exploration activities,” said OEPA Director Scott Nally. “The process put in place under the contract will enable the agencies to review emerging technologies that can help reduce the volume of freshwater taken from streams and rivers for purposes of hydraulic fracturing, and reduce the reliance on Ohio’s underground injection control wells for disposal of fluids.”

Under its contract, Battelle plans to establish a basis for assessing wastewater treatment technologies, including criteria for water management, appropriate environmental and health protection objectives and technology suitability. It also has been tasked with developing a technology assessment process to evaluate proposed treatment and reuse technologies. The process would allow for assessing both commercially available and emerging technologies using established criteria to evaluate treatment option tradeoffs.

In addition, Battelle is to demonstrate the assessment process for selected technology solutions for recycling and discharge to state and local government stakeholders, showing the application of the technology assessment process in either scenario.

“Hydraulic fracturing requires a large volume of water, so new technologies for reuse of the flowback and produced water must be identified, developed and deployed to maintain sustainable operations,” said Battelle’s Marty Toomajian, president of Energy, Environment and Material Sciences Global Business.