Ohio starts taking Pa. fracking wastewater

Pennsylvania’s waste is becoming Ohio’s million-dollar treasure.

Gas drillers tapping into the Marcellus Shale are shipping more fracking waste to neighboring Ohio for disposal deep underground, putting it on pace to bank nearly $1 million in fees this year from out-of-state drillers, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported Tuesday.

The amount of wastewater Ohio accepted from out-of-state drillers jumped 25 percent in the first quarter, compared with the last quarter of 2010, likely in part because Pennsylvania officials this year increased pressure on drillers to keep fracking waste out of surface water, said Tom Tomastik of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

Drillers “have to do something with this waste,” said Pam Melott, manager at WTC Gas Field Services, one of several haulers newly registered to ship to Ohio. “There’s a lot of prospective customers. Our customers have called me and they want to know, ‘What are we going to do?’ … So, yes, they’re very interested in this.”

Pennsylvania has six active deep-injection disposal wells, all in the western half of the state, but state Department of Environmental Protection records show drillers rely completely on Ohio to take their waste. Companies sent nearly 14.8 million gallons for underground disposal in the last six months of 2010, the most recent statistics available.

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