As shale drilling sites continue coming online in the Utica Shale region, the demand for alternative means of managing the wastes produced by drilling operations has never been stronger.  In response to that demand, significant studies are beginning in Ohio that are designed to tackle these issues. 

Battelle Memorial Institute recently announced that it is partnering with the Ohio EPA and the Ohio DNR to identify alternative/new technologies that Ohio companies can utilize for treatment of drilling wastewater.  The overall goals of Battelle’s partnership are to ”increase water reuse and decrease injection of wastewater into disposal wells associated with shale gas drilling and production activities in the Marcellus and Utica Shale Regions.”  Recycling of flowback and produced water are expected to be key components of this process.

Additionally, per a recent announcement by Sen. Sherrod Brown’s office, Battelle and Ohio University are slated to receive funding from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Research Partnership to Secure Energy for America program to study alternative treatment and disposal options for flowback, produced water, and brine.  The two organizations combined will receive over $3.5 million in DOE funds over two years to conduct their studies, while contributing roughly $900,000 themselves to the effort.