PODCAST: Don’t Just Throw Away That Fracking Wastewater

Aug. 28, 2018, 6:35 PM

Fracking involves shooting water deep underground to break open oil and gas formations. Most of that water comes back up to the surface eventually. What are we supposed to do with it?

In most cases, it gets sent back underground for storage. But some states are looking at ways to recycle this water, or at least treat it so it doesn’t pollute lakes, rivers, and oceans.

Some environmental groups are actually on board with this, mainly because storing fracking wastewater underground isn’t that great either—it can contaminate groundwater supplies and even cause earthquakes.

But Nichole Saunders, an attorney with the Environmental Defense Fund, says we need to do A LOT more research before we start using this wastewater instead of just storing it. Saunders joined us for the latest episode of our podcast, Parts Per Billion, which you can listen to here.

We also heard from Reid Porter, a spokesman at the American Petroleum Institute, who said in an email that his industry runs all of its waste management plans past state regulators before drilling.

We spoke to Saunders at the annual conference of the Environmental Council of the States in Stowe, Vt. Check back in later this week for more podcasts from this conference.

You can subscribe to Parts Per Billion via iTunes or on SoundCloud.

To contact the reporter on this story: David Schultz in Washington at dschultz@bloombergenvironment.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Rachael Daigle at rdaigle@bloombergenvironment.com

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