Serious Questions Seeping Out on Antero Wastewater Facility

by S. Tom Bond on September 19, 2015

Public Meeting in Doddridge County on Proposed Antero Wastewater Treatment Facility

Commentary by S. Tom Bond, Jane Lew, Lewis County, WV

The Doddridge County Commission held a public meeting Tuesday evening, September 15, on the Proposed Antero Wastewater Treatment Facility along Route 50. The plan is to locate it at approximately 39o 16′ N and 80o 54′ W, near Greenwood in that county.

The principal speaker was the General Manager of the Area for Antero, which has large holdings in northwest West Virginia and southeast Ohio.

The purpose of the facility is to receive wastewater from wells which have been subject to slick water fracturing and return it to a state where it can be reused in the industry. Antero already has an extensive system of pipes for fresh water, he said, consisting of 103 miles of buried lines, 80 miles of temporary lines and 24 impoundments in West Virginia. This helps them when it is dry and fresh water streams are too low. It also helps reduce the miles water trucks must travel.

The new facility will cost $1.5 million, and have capacity to receive 100 tanker truck loads a day. It was claimed that the salt produced could be used for roads, and would be “merchantable,” but a landfill is being installed adjacent to the plant. The water would be used exclusively for further fracking. The audience was assured there would be no damage from the natural radioactivity which accompanies Marcellus waste. This caused a great deal of opposition in the comment period afterwards, including from a land fill expert.

The speaker, when pressed, said they would allow third party sampling of the products produced. In the comment period practically all comment was against allowing the plant. The one speaker for the plant announced he worked for Antero before he began. One lady reminded the Antero people that the local community had not only the present to consider, but the effect on their children and heirs. When asked how long the plastic sheet on the bottom of the holding ponds would last, the speaker replied “for a thousand years.”

This author is a trained chemist with some additional knowledge of toxicology. He was appalled by the complete absence of chemistry and chemical engineering in the presentation. When the speaker was touting the expertise that went into the plant all he talked about was the architect they hired to plan it. It seems strange that a new process of this scale would be attempted without chemical knowledge of how the process worked, since it is, apparently, a first.

The speaker talked as though he did not understand that “brine” and “salt” did not mean sodium chloride solution, but is a far more general term applied to other compounds and mixtures. What comes up as flowback and produced water is a complex, highly variable mixture, varying from place to place and time to time from the same well. How does this relate to the idea the salt would be merchantable?

The claim that polyethylene sheets used in holding ponds would last 1000 years is disquieting, also. Sounds like a project engineered by MBA’s. But, heck, if it can get past the regulatory agencies and local officials, none of which has the right kind of expertise to understand the process, why not use it? Right?

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Night Hawk (10/27/14) September 19, 2015 at 10:26 pm

WV DEP: Testing Shows 3 Water Wells Potentially Impacted By Antero Drilling in Doddridge County

Updated: WBOY News 12, Clarksburg, October 27, 2014
A cease and desist order remains in effect at an Antero well pad in Doddridge County after an incident that released methane gas into the ground in September 2014, potentially negatively impacting three residential water wells.

The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection was initially contacted by Antero Resources at approximately 9:23 p.m. Sept. 24, 2014 after Antero drilled a well and came in contact with an adjacent well on Antero’s Primm Pad. The well and pad are located on Oxford Road, in the West Union area of Doddridge County.

While drilling the “Stella 1h” well, which was approved for drilling Sept. 1, 2014 came in contact with the “Callie 2h” well at about 621 feet in depth, according to information from the DEP. While the extent of damage is currently unknown, methane gas was released from the Callie 2h well.   

Preliminary water test results indicated that up to 16 water wells may have been impacted, although recent test results show that only three wells could potentially be impacted, DEP Spokeswoman Kelley Gillenwater said Monday, Oct. 27, 2014.

The homeowners where the three wells are located continue to receive water supplied by Antero, along with three others nearby who have requested the water as a precaution, pending further test results. 

Antero is required to respond to a notice of violation by Nov. 15, 2014 which requires the company to show it has gained control of the well, to demonstrate it has the ability to safely resume operations and to prove it has contained any methane at the site.


NGI Shale News September 21, 2015 at 12:09 am

Antero Resources Dropping Water Business to MLP For $1 Billion Plus

By Jamison Cocklin, NGI Shale Daily, September 18, 2015

Antero Resources Corp. (AR) plans to drop down its integrated water business in Ohio and West Virginia to its midstream master limited partnership for $1.05 billion in cash, debt and equity, it said Friday.

The deal is expected to close on Wednesday. Antero Midstream Partners LP (AM) would receive the producer’s fresh water delivery business, an exclusive right to provide fresh water for AR’s completion operations in both states and the $275 million, 60,000 barrels/day wastewater treatment complex that AR plans to build in Doddridge County, WV.

AM would pay AR a cash distribution of $552 million. It has also priced a private placement of 12.9 million common units that’s expected to raise another $243 million for payment to AR along with the issuance of nearly 11 million common units to AR representing limited partner interests.

The deal also includes two earn-out payments to AR of $125 million each at year-end 2019 and 2020 if AM hits certain fresh water delivery targets. After the deal is completed, AR said its liquidity would be boosted to $4.3 billion from the $3.5 billion it had at the end of the second quarter.

The fresh water delivery business includes two independent systems that deliver water from the Ohio River and other regional water sources for Marcellus and Utica shale completions in both states. The systems consist of 150 miles of underground pipelines; 80 miles of surface water pipelines; 35 fresh water impoundments with storage capacity of more than five million barrels, and 15,000 hp of water pump capacity. AR said the systems have helped with more than 300 well completions and eliminated an estimated 400,000 truck deliveries since they were completed.

AM would also acquire a state-of-the-art wastewater treatment facility that AR plans to have operational by 2017. AR would pay a fixed fee of $4/barrel of wastewater to use the facility under a 20-year agreement. Over the same time period, the producer would also pay a fixed fee of $3.69/barrel of fresh water delivered in West Virginia and a fee of $3.64/barrel for fresh water delivered in Ohio.


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