Feasibility of Using Alternative Water Sources for Shale Gas Well Completions — A Preliminary Guidance Document on Current Practices in the Barnett
Barnett and Appalachian Shale Water Management and Reuse Technologies
RPSEA Report No: 08122-05.04
Millions of gallons is needed to perform the fracing operation, and in the past few years gas operators have used (1) groundwater from dedicated supply wells, (2) surface water from water-rights owners (private or state agencies such as river authorities), (3) surface water from private ponds and other water bodies, (4) treated water from municipalities and industrial users, and (5) water recycled from previous fracing operations. As gas production moves away from the core area (Denton, Johnson, Tarrant, and Wise Counties) toward the north, south, and west to access the remainder of the play, gas operators are faced with two challenges: (1) increased water scarcity and (2) measured reluctance to impact domestic and public water supplies. This study analyzes three potential sources able to meet those goals: (1) small ponds outside the State regulation of surface water, (2) smallish groundwater aquifers west of the more plentiful Trinity aquifer, and (3) treated wastewater outfalls. Different alternative sources were inventoried through orthoimagery coverage to detect all non-State-water bodies, an analysis of the groundwater literature supplemented by perusal of State agency databases, and a thorough examination of relevant wastewater databases (State and Federal), respectively.