Fracking & the Future

I’d like to officially welcome you to the debut edition of Industrial Water & Wastes Digest (IWWD), a new publication brought to you by Water & Wastes Digest, a Scranton Gillette Communications publication.

It certainly is an eventful time in the world of industrial wastewater. The importance of responsible resource management recently was underscored when the world’s population hit 7 billion.

While environmental sentiments are trending “green,” the reality is that the global community continues to rely heavily on crude oil and gas production, which uses large volumes of water and in turn generates highly contaminated wastewater. Our nation’s large reserves of shale gas, in particular, are exciting to proponents who say it will lead to U.S. energy independence; it seems we are in the midst of a “shale rush.”

But the corresponding process of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, which is used to stimulate wells and release the natural gas contained in shale gas formations and coalbeds, has uncovered a hotbed of controversy.

As my Q&A with environmental engineer Thomas Smith indicates, this issue is far from cut and dry. Technological improvements have increased gas-drilling activities across the country. Production from shale formations has grown to almost 15% of total U.S. natural gas production, and this share is expected to triple in the coming decades.

IWWD will be sure to track the development of this important issue, and other big news in the world of industrial water and wastewater. The coming year will bring us much to report. I encourage you to provide feedback on what you would like to see inside these pages.

Elizabeth Lisican is managing editor of Industrial Water & Wastes Digest. Lisican can be reached at elisican@sgcmail.com or 847.391.1012.

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