Wastewater recycling and reuse trends in Pennsylvania shale gas wells

Katherine Schmid, David Yoxtheimer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Thousands of shale gas wells have been drilled and hydraulically fractured across the state of Pennsylvania over the past decade, and more wells are being drilled each year. The drilled lengths of these wells and the amount of water being used to hydraulically fracture (frac) them continue to increase. These increases have led to an increase in the volume of wastewater being produced each year. However, the ratio of energy produced per barrel of wastewater has increased significantly over the past six years. Recent data show the volume of wastewater produced in one year is approximately 20% of the volume of frac water used in that same year. With changes in state policies, drilling companies in Pennsylvania have been recycling most of their wastewaters over the past few years. The development of various treatment technologies and brine-resistant frac mixtures has allowed companies to recycle this wastewater for use in future frac jobs. Use of this recycled water does not appear to be having a significant effect on production of oil or gas from wells. Recycling wastewater can be very cost-competitive when compared to options such as disposal via waste-treatment plants or injection wells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)115-125
Number of pages11
JournalEnvironmental Geosciences
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)


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