Natural Gas extraction wastewater supply chain

A New York Times article (March 1, 2011) describes the supply chain of wastewater that is generated when hydrofracking – a process of injecting water and sand at high pressure to break rock formations and release natural gas.  In Pennsylvania, about 50 % of the wastewater released was recycled, but the methods generate radioactive waste.  Other ways to dispose including use of this water for de-icing. But the melted ice creates runoff that ends in drinking supply.  Current Federal standards exempts this industry wastewater from hazardous waste laws which would have significantly increased disposal costs for Pennsylvania gas extraction companies.  Other approaches to trace – termed manifest systems – which would have required tracking of the water from start to end – have been defeated.  Should the environmental costs for an industry that tries to replace gasoline woth natural gas be subsidized ? Should the tracking of water and thus the ability to understand the environmental impact be a required component of all industries that generate such waste ?  Finally, how should radioactive waste in the ground be traded off for the lower carbon emissions as a result of gasoline being replaced by natural gas and the lower reliance on volatile geographic areas ?

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About aviyer2010

Professor
This entry was posted in Operations Management, Supply Chain Issues, Sustainability and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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