Monday, November 19, 2012

The Definitive Guide to the MYTH of Frack Water Recycling

The Definitive Guide to...
The Problem with Frack Waste Disposal
and the MYTH of "Wastewater recycling"
by BH

FACT: You cannot make toxins "go away"
Basic physics 101: Law of Conservation of Matter says that
you can't use chemistry to make toxic stuff "go away".

Scientists are not magicians.

Generally there are Only Three Things you can do with waste are:

  • TRANSFORM and DUMP:  (chemically, e.g., via oxidation/burning)
But we can't make waste disappear from the Earth.

There is only one ecosystem, and we all live in it!
No element can escape!

Note: in very narrow cases, some toxic biological or chemical wastes can be neutralized by a chemical process, such as neutralizing pH by adding acids or bases. However, in almost every such reaction, there is something toxic left over (like salts).

Also, such chemistry is extremely complex, difficult to get right, and only effective in a very narrow subset of all waste streams.

Typically waste streams are complex mixtures of acids, bases, heavy metals, oils and solvents, VOCs, salts, PAHs, organo-chlorines, Radioactive NORMs and TENORMS, etc. 
So the belief that waste can be magically "vanished" is a fantasy. 

Three states of matter.
Matter can be neither created not destroyed

(Law of Conservation)

Three States of Matter

The waste which was in the toxic flowback "water"
must be a solid, liquid, or a gas.

If the water is "purified", then this means the toxic stuff
is somehow separated. But it still exists as one of the
three states of matter
, just in a concentrated form.
(In solution, it is dissolved, diluted)

With applied technology and energy, waste can be changed
from one state of matter to another, but it is still there.

Impossible, and Too Costly

The technology to "purify waste-water"
does not exist on a large scale,
and can never practically exist.
It is extremely expensive and it is energy intensive,
requires massive energy inputs, 
and produces concentrated waste products.

As a practical matter, it is not scientifically possible
or financially prudent for them to purify the volumes
of waste they are creating.

If they are recycling,
then why do they need MORE WATER?

If they are saying they are doing this, they are lying.
Just think about it....

Every three months the SRBC approves NEW permits
for water withdraw locations on the order of
an ADDITIONAL 50 million gallons per day.
SRBC: Faster! Faster!
Every three months, MORE WATER!
Three months later, MORE WATER! HA HA!

It's like the crazed guy from Reefer Madness:
Faster! Faster!

So here's a question.... if the gas industry is recycling all of the wastes in PA
which they claim they are, then WHY DO THEY NEED to increase
the rate of extraction from the Susquehanna River Basin every three months?

Recycling does not destroy waste... it concentrates it!

So let's say 1 liter of water contains 5 grams of total dissolved solids.

The "Recycling" process might be able to separate the
TDS from the pure water -- or so they claim.
(* but I wouldn't want to drink it!)

Here, "recycling" means the 5 grams are just pulled out
(e.g.) as precipitate, or via filtration, etc. 

You started with one liter of contaminated water.
After separation, now you you have clean water,
and (separated) 5 grams of concentrated waste.

Now, what do you do with that?

Even if they do "recycle" it, there is STILL a disposal problem.

"Recycling" is really turning one waste disposal problem
into a different waste disposal problem.

The companies might try to recycle or "purify" some water,
but this is just for show.

The vast majority of the waste water is just dumped somewhere,
pumped into an injection well, or stored in a tank or big lagoon,
because this is far cheaper.

What can we ultimately do with waste?
What are the ways we can dump it?

Whether the waste products come directly from the well sites,
or come from "water purification facilities", the waste must
be a solid, liquid, or a gas.

Here are the known possibilities:

    ... in a box or tank
    , and pray it doesn't leak.... EVER!

    Dump it on the ground, spread it on roads, bury it.
    Spread it on fields, sell it as fertilizer.  (a "beneficial use!")
    Deep injection. Will it stay there forever? Will it cause earthquakes?

    Or, dump it directly into creeks, rivers or ocean. 

    Or add it to
    the public water supply as a "beneficial use product" (e.g., fluoride)

  • AIRSHED DUMPING:  Burn it (incinerate w/heat, oxidize, chemical conversion, dump it into the air via aerosol "misters"), or turn liquid waste into an aerosol and "dump it" into the air (could this be what chem trails are really all about?)
  • FOODSHED DUMPING: Eat it! Dump it directly into the food supply as a cheap bulk additive (e.g., whey). Spread it on farmers crops as a "nutrient cake".
  • What else? Shoot it off into space? To the moon? Into the sun?
I know all of these methods are being used
(except the last one, and I know even that has been explored)

Dumping wastes into the air:
Sometimes these liquids are turned into an aerosol and sprayed into the air, such as with the "Super Mister" (see photo at right).  Josh Fox even talks about these "Evaporation Sprayers" used out West in Gasland (Part 3).

Check the PDF by Jay Langham:

Interesting side story: Have you heard about the recent "Suite Code 942" scandal at the PA DEP, where they were hiding water test results? PA Rep Jesse White is leading this investigation. He is being viciously attacked by the gas industry, so he must be on to something big.

Anyway, turns out the plaintiffs, the Kiskadden family (all are sick and suffering, their water is poisoned) live just down the road from this 3 acre monstrosity, the SUPER MISTER!

If the waste is incinerated, then the waste is turned into a gas and "dumped" into the air.

Solid Waste -- Care for some Frack Cake with your morning coffee?

But the process the industry calls "Recycling" of frack flowback produces
(typically) solid waste "frack cake" which must be disposed of in landfills.

Please watch this  industry produced video from our friends at EID Marcellus (which are really the IPAA, which are really every gas company).

Skip to 3m:7s:
I love it. They don't even try to hide the truth!

There are at least three landfills which accept this in NY.
Here is a recent map by Karen Edelstein
matching wells with where the waste is going.,40.8445,-74.1068,43.8162

This is confirmed by this recent post by Mary Finneran:
(The stuff within [Braces] was added by me, --- BH)

MARY FINNERAN, QUOTE: As I believe all here know, radioactive waste [drill cuttings, chemical wastes] is being accepted
  • at Lowman Landfill in Chemung County  [Active 2011-2012]

    [Drains into the Chemung River, upstream of Waverly, Sayre, and points south on the Susquehanna]

  • the Hake's Landfill in Steuben Co. (two miles from Painted Post on Manning Ridge Road in East Campbell), [Active 2011-2012]

    [Drains into the Cohocton River, upstream of Corning, Waverly, Sayre, and all points south along the Susquehanna River, into Harrisburg]

    Letchworth State Park, renowned as the "Grand Canyon of the East,"
    is down stream of Angelica Landfill which is taking
    toxic wastes from Pennsylvania
  • and in Angelica Landfill in Allegany Co.  [Active 2011]

    [Drains into the Genesee River, into Letchworth State Park, renowned as the "Grand Canyon of the East," and is one of the most scenically magnificent areas in the eastern U.S.  (see photo)]

  • [adding Seneca Meadows Landfill, Waterloo, (Edelstein map). Drains into Oswego river and into Lake Ontario]  [Active 2011]
All facilities owned by Casella Inc, I believe.

Tons of waste, and it is only tested for a certain amount of gamma radiation, not alpha or beta. The waste leachate from all is also being "treated" in Bath and dumped into the Cohocton there. 

The waste is also being mixed with sewage and spread on land by the Dickson Corporation.  All of this has been approved and permitted by the DEC, so don't expect "regulations" to help here.

If you do hear of waste being dumped elsewhere secretly, please let me know. ::END QUOTE

See also:

Despite the name, Frack Cake is NOT yummy.
Do not ever eat Frack Cake.
It is inedible and poisonous.

This stuff produces a leachate which ends up directly
in the water supply of many NYers. From what I've heard
from Mary and also Dave Walszak, this is also entering
the food supply as (IIRC) it is being spread on farmer's fields.


Disposing of Frack Waste -- Chinese Menu Style
(Choose one from Column A, then one from column B)
A: Transform it  B: Store it or Dump it
  • 1: separate & concentrate it
  • 2:dilute it.
  • 3: transform the waste from one state of matter into another, or
  • 4: chemically transform it (e.g., via oxidation/burning), hopefully into something more stable and less toxic!
(NOTE WELL: each step requires energy inputs)

  • 1: Store it (forever), in a tank
  • 2: Watershed dumping
  • 3: Dump it into the AIR
  • 4: Dump it into the Foodshed

    THAT'S IT! We cannot make it disappear, unless we

  • 5: shoot it off into space.
(see above for complete list in each category)

I hope this helps,

phone: 607-321-7846

May you, and all beings
be happy and free from suffering :)
-- ancient Buddhist Prayer (Metta)


Paul_Roden said...

Bill, It has been a long time since I took organic chemistry, but I remember my chem professor saying that when you mix organic chemicals like alcohol, benzene, xylene, esters, ethers and other VOC's (Volatile Organic Compounds)which are components of many fracking fluids,you can't separate them physically by filtration, distillation or chemically. Even activated charcoal can't remove them nor evaporation. Have you investigated the science on this?
This is a great blog on the wastes from fracking.
Paul Roden, Yardley, PA(Bucks County, on the Delaware River, where my drinking water comes from)
(I have cousins in Binghamton, NY and my late grandmother was born in North Branch, Sullivan County, NY)

Paul_Roden said...

When you mix VOC's with water, it becomes an "ansiotropic" mixture. The boiling points of VOC's are too close to that of water as to making it virtually impossible to separate the mixture, which is fracking fluid and "flow back" or "waste water". I have also read that this "brine water" from fracking flow back has been used to control dust and "de-ice" roads and sprayed on road ways before a major snow storm. We need to know where the road crews get this "brine".

Also, in the gas, radon is part of the mixture, NORM (Normally Occurring Radioactive Material or Matter) is bad enough from the drill tailings, which decay, releasing radon. So when the gas is piped into your home to heat, cook and provide hot water, you are breathing in radon, which once it decays, the radioactive daughters, as the decay products are called are alpha ray radiation emitters, the so called low level ionizing radiation, are what causes cancer.

Bill Huston 1 said...

Thanks Paul. This is helpful.

I hope I didn't give the impression that this water "cleansing" is possible. I think it is highly suspect and dubious.

BJ said...

The Chemung Landfill, I think it is run by the company, but owned by the County. One thing to note is that there must be a waste characterization for the cakes that are being disposed there. When we press the sewer sludge at the sewer plant we have to have a waste characterization done for the land fill to accept it. I am not sure about NYS, but that may be a record that could be requested throught the county. As for the drill cuttings, mixing them with soild and creating a soil farm on site is being permitted by the DEP now. With sewer sludge you have to test the area for land application, characterize the sewer sludge and ever so often test the soil again for any build up of 'stuff'. We have more hoops to go through getting rid of sewer sludge than the drilling industry does with the cuttings or waste water from drilling and hydrolic fracturing.

Random Blogger said...

So... a quick google search to find out what is in frack flowback ? What is this "vitamin cake for the farmer's fields?"

Frack Flowback includes:
Foaming Agent F104
Corrosion Inhibitor A185
Organic Acid L36
Chelating Agent
Liquid Breaker Aid J318
Breaker J318
Biocide B69
PSG Polymer Slurry J877
Water Gelling Agent J424
Potassium Chloride M117
carcinogens benzene / formaldehyde
carcinogenic suspects xylene / monoethanolamine
The radiation is called Naturally Occurring Radioactive Material (NORM) not regulated by EPA. TX contamination companies 'cleaning' 25 frack sites in 2 yrs had 1,000 barrels of radioactive waste !!!!