Our research shows that for the Marcellus Shale -- by far the largest shale gas resource in the United States -- significantly less wastewater is generated for every unit of natural gas recovered by hydraulic fracturing than by conventional gas production.
In the peer-reviewed journal Water Resources Research, we compared wastewater volumes generated by more than 2,000 hydraulically fractured shale gas wells to the wastewater generated by conventional wells. We used publicly available data throughout Pennsylvania.
Our results surprised us: On average, shale gas wells generated about 10 times more wastewater but also produced about 30 times more natural gas. This means conventional wells generate about three times more wastewater than hydraulically fractured wells to produce the same amount of natural gas.
Conventional gas resources -- on which we have relied for more than 150 years -- are drawn from highly porous geologic formations. They are like sponges through which gas can flow freely.
These pores also can harbor large volumes of water. In fact, more deep water -- water that usually contains high concentrations of pollutants -- is usually brought to the surface than natural gas.Something tells me this will be too hard for faux environmentalists to understand.