PENETRON Helps Clean Up Fracking in West Virginia

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PENETRON crystalline waterproofing technology helps the brand new AOP Clearwater facility clean up wastewater used for the extraction of natural gas from deep underground formations in West Virginia.

This is only one of our many projects where PENETRON crystalline waterproofing helps improve industrial processes to benefit our environment.

Located in Fairmont, West Virginia, the AOP Clearwater recently began operation as a “one of a kind” facility to treat and recycle water. This water is used in the “fracking” of natural gas extracted from the Marcellus shale formation.

The Marcellus shale formation is a layer of sedimentary rock deposited over 350 million years ago in the Appalachian regions of western New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia. This formation contains significant quantities of natural gas; current estimates predict the over one-mile-deep formations may contain up to 363 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. This is enough to supply the needs of the entire United States for nearly 15 years.

Problematic Extraction Process
Extracting natural gas from the carbon rich deposits demands drilling and fracking techniques that inject significant volumes of water (an estimated three million gallons per well head), pressurized to open up the pores in the rock and allow the gas to be collected. This water becomes contaminated with high concentrations of brines, heavy metals, and organics and must be completely removed from the well before gas production can begin.

The high concentrations of contaminants and salt brine (up to 25 %) in the returned water make it necessary to treat the large volumes of water in sophisticated treatment systems. The AOP Clearwater facility applies several treatment layers that include settling basins, bag filters and carbon filters to remove the heavy metals and contaminants. The final treatment uses multi-phase evaporators to remove the sodium chloride or salt from the brine-laden fracking water.

Greatly Enhanced Durability
PENETRON ADMIX was selected for all the concrete structures, including the settling basins and the delivery/receiving stations, to minimize chemical penetration into the concrete. The salt brine, with up to 25% concentrations of sodium chloride, could rapidly damage the reinforcing members of the concrete and quickly deteriorate the structures.

“As shown in independent tests, PENETRON ADMIX can reduce chloride penetration in concrete by 89%,” adds Christopher Chen, Director of The PENETRON Group, “virtually eliminating any chloride penetration to a depth beyond one inch and significantly increasing the durability of AOP Clearwater’s concrete structures.”

Running now at full capacity, the AOP Clearwater facility has a treatment capacity of 210,000 gallons per day. Over 80% of the cleaned water is recycled back to the drillers to be used again, making a substantial contribution toward cleaning up today’s fracking process and enabling the long sought dream of energy independence for the country.

“This is only one of our many projects where PENETRON crystalline waterproofing helps improve industrial processes to benefit our environment,” says Chen. “For AOP Clearwater and PENETRON, it’s all about sustainability.”

The PENETRON Group is a leading manufacturer of specialty construction products for concrete waterproofing, concrete repairs and floor preparation systems. The Group operates through a global network, offering support to the design and construction community through its regional offices, representatives and distribution channels.

For more information on PENETRON waterproofing solutions, please visit penetron(dot)com or, email CRDept(at)penetron(dot)com, or contact the Corporate Relations Department at 631-941-9700.

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