News
News Home
Quick Bites
Exploradio
News Archive
News Channel
Special Features
NPR
nowplaying
On AirNewsClassical
Loading...
  
School Closings
WKSU Support
Funding for WKSU is made possible in part through support from the following businesses and organizations.

Wayside Furniture

NOCHE


For more information on how your company or organization can support WKSU, download the WKSU Media Kit.

(WKSU Media Kit PDF icon )


Donate Your Vehicle to WKSU

Programs Schedule Make A Pledge Member BenefitsFAQ/HelpContact Us
Environment


Frackers little affected by lower water levels
Planning ahead, storing water reserves, and recycling frac-water seem to be keeping the shale gas players' operations running more or less normally
by WKSU's TIM RUDELL


Reporter
Tim Rudell
 
Dover Dam, in Tuscarawas County, was built by the Army Corps of Engineers in 1933. It is now undergoing extensive renovation
Courtesy of Rudell
Download (WKSU Only)

The drought and fracking:  WKSU’s Tim Rudell reports on how the water-intensive drilling process at the heart of eastern Ohio’s shale gas boom may affect…and be affected by…water levels in the region.

Click to listen

Other options:
Windows Media / MP3 Download (4:10)


(Click image for larger view.)

Crews work eighty feet below us on the concrete apron of eighty-year-old Dover Dam.  It’s in Tuscarawas County; one of Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District’s 14 flood control dams and lakes built in the Great Depression and now being upgraded.

The District’s Darrin Lautenschleger says the watershed’s ability to control flow has made this year’s drought manageable in terms of stored water levels, especially in the big reservoirs. “When we’ve had rainfall, it’s been very heavy.  Lots of runoff.  The lakes are designed to hold that runoff.  So there’s been a lot of runoff into the lakes and into the tributaries that feed the lakes.”

Lautenschleger says water held in the system is available to farmers in times of drought -- but none are calling for it yet. It’s also available to other enterprises, and that has included fracking.  “Our conservancy district signed one agreement with Gulfport Energy for the supply of water from Clendening Reservoir for up to 11-million gallons.  Clendening Reservoir has 8-point-6-billion gallons of water in it, so less than one percent.  That was conducted last month.”

But, Lautenschleger says, no more sales to frackers will happen, for now.

“Because of public concern, and our own thirst to understand what the situation is, our district contracted with the U.S. Geologic Survey to look at all the lakes and so we placed a moratorium on any further sales of water until we have the results of that study, which are expected sometime by the end of the year.”

The watershed’s cut off does not seem to be affecting the area’s biggest fracker.  Nobody from Chesapeake Energy would go on mic.  But, in an email, Jaque Bland of the Pittsburgh office said the Oklahoma-based company is used to holding water reserves for dry times to “ensure Chesapeake’s operations aren’t affected, and that there are no impacts on the waterways.”  Chesapeake also recycles its water — and has a new recycling plant near Carrollton.

But, Jack Shaner of the Ohio Environmental Council cautions that  evaluating the impact of fracking on water supplies is not a simple matter. “They try to be smart and they try to store water ahead of time, so if there is a situation like right now, a drought, they’re prepared for that.  But, we should also not be looking just at one season, but at the long haul; and what will this do water sources over time.” 

Shaner also says regulations for drawing off water for fracking have changed. “It’s now law in Ohio that before a driller can begin they must identify the source of the water that they will be using to frack the well.  This is a good move to understand and to know ahead of time: well, where do they plan to get these millions of gallons of water?  Because that goes again to the question: can the source withstand it?

In addition to surface water—from rivers and lakes—Ohio has vast stores of “ground water” in aquifers beneath us.

Tyler Converse runs the city of Canton’s Water Department, which taps ground water as far away as northwestern Tuscarawas County to supply upwards of a quarter of a million people in Stark County.  (start to bring up the sound of the plant in here and explain the background sound, such as … “Over the sound of the pumps in the XX plant on the city’s northeast side, Converse says he’s not been approached by frackers yet, but a push for city water may be coming. “I just heard some figures the other day, like the number of permits for frac pads in Stark County is about a dozen or so.  For these companies there almost kind of test wells to show that what they think is in the area is in the area.  And then, if they find it, off they go.  They’re kind of like little scouting mission.”

Converse says, more scouting is probably necessary on the regulation and control side of the drilling boom, too, so he welcomes a recent lull in new drilling.“I’m not hearing of new property being leased at the moment, and we can actually use that time to make adjustment to supposedly what’s coming.  So I’m actually quite thankful for that.

Ted Lozier of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources says  there has been no recent water withdrawal registration activity from the ninty or so active shale gas drilling sites around the state, and no demands for water that are taxing current supplies


Related WKSU Stories

Environmentalists worry about fracking waste
Monday, July 2, 2012

Ohio Gov. Kasich says fracking bill balances environment and economy
Tuesday, June 12, 2012

New report looks at Ohio fracking disclosures
Thursday, July 12, 2012

Muskingum Water District halts water sales
Thursday, June 7, 2012

Add Your Comment
Name:

Location:

E-mail: (not published, only used to contact you about your comment)


Comments:




 
Page Options

Print this page

E-Mail this page / Send mp3

Share on Facebook




Stories with Recent Comments

The first big private gift comes in for the pro football HOF project
The HOF has needed a shot in the arm for many years and this project will go a long way to getting the attraction the attention it deserves (next: upgrad...

Environmental study nears completion in East Liverpool
Twenty years ago my twin sister and I protested the building and operation of the WTI facility citing several studies that indicated the risk of cancer due to ...

HOF's Canton expansion could take an island and make it a village
I live in the block from Broad St to the Hall of Fame and will be impacted by the expansion. I am in the process of selling my home and planned to long before i...

Cleveland redeploys police to replace rejected red-light traffic cameras
Periodic rotational enforcement without warning does NOT change behavior and the city officials know that. This is the basis of all officer-run enforcement trap...

New enrollment period offers more insurance options
The removal of federal funding for healthcare CO-OPs may limit the growth of the CO-OP movement. http://www.healthcaretownhall.com/?p=6381

The family of Boardman vet killed in Vietnam receives his medals
My name is Mike Eisenbraun. I am Larry's brother. I was 14 years old when Larry was killed in Vietnam. He has been gone for 46 years but it seems like yester...

Cleveland seniors are creating new wealth -- and facing new challenges
Why is anyone surprised that we people over 65 are not retiring? If you have been paying attention, defined company funded pensions were phasing out in the eigh...

Ohio company cuts off a dairy supplier after allegations of animal abuse
these people should be held accountable for their actions. i would be more than pleased to see a year or more behind bars. i will NEVER eat anything that comes ...

Goodyear recruits thousands of vets
What a wonderful interview! Excellent reporting skills by a talented young reporter! I look forward to hearing more from Ms. Schley!

Copyright © 2014 WKSU Public Radio, All Rights Reserved.

 
In Partnership With:

NPR PRI Kent State University

listen in windows media format listen in realplayer format Car Talk Hosts: Tom & Ray Magliozzi Fresh Air Host: Terry Gross A Service of Kent State University 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. NPR Senior Correspondent: Noah Adams Living on Earth Host: Steve Curwood 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. A Service of Kent State University