Effect of Marcellus drilling on West Virginia fisheries could be profound
The natural gas development of the Marcellus Shale revolves around water. Water is pumped from lakes, streams, and ponds and mixed with sand and toxic chemicals to create the frack fluid that is injected at high pressure into the underground wells. Part of this remains underground, and part (20-50%) returns to the surface and must be dealt with as waste (or treated) water.
“I don’t think the average West Virginian understands the sheer amount of water required for these wells,” said Frank Jernejcic, a district fisheries biologist for the state Division of natural Resources. “It takes 1 million to 5 million gallons per well. Most tanker trucks hold about 4,500 gallons. If a well needs a million gallons, the driller would need 220 trucks to transport the water to the well site. If the well needs 5 million gallons, it’s going to take around 1,000 truckloads to do the job.”
The West Virginia Gazette shares recreationalist’s, fisheries’, and conservation group’s concerns that waterways could be drained and aquatic life could be endangered on the front end of this process, polluted on the other end, and that fragile ecosystems are being destroyed in the process of creating access roads for all the heavy truck traffic used during natural gas development.