Shale Gas Wastewater Management

Wastewater Management

Shale gas-related wastewaters are comprised of several waste streams – drilling muds, flowback, and produced brine - that result from various phases of well development, all of which require proper management. These wastes have chemical constituents that vary with time and location, are produced at widely distributed sites across the region, are transferred and transported at various stages of treatment, and are generated in high volumes. Information on wastewater is useful for understanding the differences between these wastes, what is being done to manage them, and what challenges persist in minimizing impact to environmental water resources.


There is widespread concern with respect to possible environmental consequences of wastewater management associated with shale gas development. Here, we provide a link to our analysis published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Environmental Management in which we examine wastewater management practices and trends for the Marcellus Shale. We also analyze the transport of shale gas liquid waste streams originating in PA throughout the region. Likely factors influencing the movement and handling of wastewater include state regulations, natural gas prices, and regional infrastructure