Workers in the shale gas drilling industry seem to have tried it all to dispose of wastewater that flows back from gas wells. From recycling it to dumping it into rivers used for drinking water, a good, economic solution is hard to find.
Now, the industry thinks it has found the safest and cheapest solution available. It wants to transport the wastewater in barges across lakes and rivers to deposit the potentially hazardous waste in disposal sites across the United States. But first, they need the Coast Guard's permission.
Officials in the Coast Guard, which regulates the country’s waterways, are worried that shipping the wastewater in barges could be hazardous, and environmentalists claim an accident causing a spill could contaminate rivers, according to the Associated Press.
Advocates argue that other toxic material is already moved on barges, and the drilling industry should not be treated differently.
According to the AP, the Coast Guard plans to publish its proposal in the Federal Register, giving the public and industry officials a chance to weigh in.