Looking at the fracking wastewater-for-irrigation proposal

This story about using fracking wastewater for crop irrigation was published a couple weeks ago after the Water and Waste Management Committee of the MEC met. The state has strict guidelines for permitting land application of treated wastewater. In general terms, the quality of wastewater must be the same as the quality of the groundwater at the site where it will be applied. The reality of the situation with fracking wastewater is that it will contain a lot of salt, not to mention whatever dissolved solids. The treating and disposing of this fracking wastewater would be so slow and over a wide enough area that it would be prohibitively expensive. So the idea of using fracking water to irrigate crops will not happen.

Note that staff from the state’s Division of Water Resources stated that he is not concerned about water quantity in the Lee County area needed for fracking. Nonetheless, the Water and Waste Management Committee is pursuing recommendations to really encourage the industry to reuse fracking fluids. That is very encouraging, and will happen with the strength of treatment and disposal costs. One option infamously being proposed in SB 76 is deep injection wells near the coast, which is a bad idea. More on that to come. But for now, don’t worry too much about this possible irrigation of crops.



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