By Karl Henkel
Mahoning County is nearing a deal for what could be a $10 million brine-wastewater recycling center.
J. Robert Lyden, head of the county sanitary engineering department, said he is negotiating with an unnamed company on the project, which could be announced “in the next month or two.”
The “substantial” project would be built near a major roadway and act as a permanent treatment facility.
Lyden did not release a specific location or company name because the county and company have not reached an official agreement.
Lyden said the project hinges on county commissioners’ approval for the sale of 1 million gallons of water per day from county water near Jackson and Milton townships.
The county would sell the water to the company for approximately $6,000 daily; Lyden said that agreement would more than double the 400,000 gallons the county sells to a variety of private companies such as Sovereign Circuits in North Jackson, which uses water as a coolant.
The center would dilute brine from oil and gas drilling with fresh water. The recycled water can then be used to frack additional wells.
If the commissioners approve the water sale, the company would then go ahead with a $100,000 feasibility study, Lyden said.
Mahoning County Commissioner John A. McNally IV said the commissioners have full authority to accept or reject any proposal presented by the sanitary engineer, and added that “until [the proposal] gets to us, we really don’t give a ‘yay’ or ‘nay.’”
Lyden said selling the 1 million gallons of water per day would not burden 1,300 nearby homes. He said the funds raised from selling the water would be used to stabilize rates for residents in the area.
“It’ll be a very positive impact,” he said. “We’re real excited about it.”
The facility is similar to one off state Route 39 east of Carrollton in Carroll County that recycles fluid from Oklahoma City-based Chesapeake Energy Corp.
The system, run by Pennsylvania-based Rettew Flowback Inc., can handle 250 to 300 42-gallon barrels of waste per hour. That system uses chemical treatment and two filters to clean 95 percent of the wastewater; the other 5 percent is sludge, which is shipped to a landfill for disposal.