Study: Oil companies should reuse wastewater produced by fracking

May 2, 2017

A wastewater disposal well in northwestern Oklahoma.
Credit Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

A new study has found that the most practical way to deal with leftover wastewater from fracking sites is to reuse the water rather than simply disposing of it. As StateImpact reports, the report from the Produced Water Working Group suggests that wastewater injection can be reduced by reuse.

The fracking process produces vast amounts of leftover water, which up to now has largely been injected back into the earth. The injection process is believed to be responsible for the proliferation of earthquakes in Oklahoma in recent years.

However, the fracking process also requires a lot of water. The new study concludes that energy companies should clean leftover wastewater and use it again in their efforts to extract oil and gas through hydraulic fracturing.

Nichole Saunders, an attorney for the Environmental Defense Fund, believes “The oil and gas industry is up to the challenge of finding smart ways to reuse their wastewater.”