By Ed Runyan
The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency has granted a final permit modification to Warren to allow its waste-treatment facilities to treat wastewater generated by drilling for gas in the Marcellus Shale region.
Warren has been working through permit and testing issues for about two years and will be the first Ohio community to receive approval to accept it.
The city’s treatment plant at 2323 Main Ave. SW can immediately begin to accept up to 100,000 gallons per day of pretreated water containing salt of up to 50,000 parts per million, the EPA said.
Tom Angelo, Warren water-pollution control director, said the water will begin to flow into the plant as soon as Patriot Water Treatment on Sferra Drive Northwest in Warren Commerce Park is ready to start operations.
Angelo said he expects trucks to begin shipping water into Patriot’s facility by the end of the month. The water will then enter the city’s waste-collection system and flow to the treatment plant on the south end of town.
Patriot has built a 2.7-acre processing-center plant there to treat and store the water.
Angelo said Patriot’s plant will employ nine to 12 people, and the extra water treatment will result in $100,000 to $300,000 per year in additional revenue for the city. Additional employment would be realized in the trucking jobs related to moving the wastewater, he added.
The EPA said in a press release that Patriot will treat the water first to remove metals. The city will treat the low-salinity water next and discharge it into the Mahoning River.
Processing 100,000 gallons per day of wastewater will increase total dissolved solid concentrations in the Mahoning River by 60 parts per million, which should not cause significant biological impacts on the river or downstream drinking-water sources, the EPA said.
The water will come from wastewater generated from hydraulic fracturing of Marcellus Shale deposits located primarily in Pennsylvania and West Virginia, the EPA said.
Angelo said he believes most of the water will come from Patriot customers in western Pennsylvania.
There already are about 500 well-heads drilling into the Marcellus Shale in Western Pennsylvania, Angelo said, adding that the nearest water- treatment facility is in New Castle, Pa., which accepts about 300,000 gallons of such wastewater per day.
New Castle has been treating the water for about two years, he said.
Warren would like to see its limit of 100,000 gallons per day increased to 300,000, Angelo said, because the city’s studies indicate that the additional flow would not adversely harm the environment.
As the additional water enters the river, the city’s treatment plant will be required to monitor the amount of toxicity that results and its impact on aquatic life, the EPA said.
The city also must monitor monthly for chloride, sulfate, barium and strontium and submit an annual report detailing the presence of any naturally occurring radioactive material.