Although access to this gas might diminish American dependence on foreign oil, it is not easy to reach.
One process of extraction, hydraulic fracturing (fracking), has successfully reached deposits of natural gas in shale and similar dense rock underground.
Generally anywhere from two to eight million gallons of water is required to frac a well. Strategically positioned bulk frac water dispensing stations have emerged as one method of managing the access and use of waters required by the fracking process; in the long term, they are cost effective compared to other water-supply solutions.
1. Management and accountability
Proper management of water supplies used for fracking can substantially reduce potential problems.
A bulk water station is a location where the general public and commercial business can purchase large volumes of water for various uses, including fracking processes. Frac water dispensing stations can lower operating costs, by securing access to water for fracking as a way to better manage its consumption.
With respect to safety, when transporting and accepting frac water supplies, standard water-quality protection procedures involve:
- The carrier taking appropriate measures to protect the water in transit, assuring it does not become contaminated as it travels from the bulk water station to frac-site.
- All carrier equipment — the vehicle’s water tank, hoses and nozzles need to be secured when not in use, during transportation, and delivery of frac water.
Automated frac water dispensing stations encourage use of either current infrastructure or turn-key installations, whichever alternative generates the optimal solution for your situation.
In contrast, hydrant access can be unsafe, costly and time-consuming, burdened with problems stemming from:
- Unsecured system access-points
- Meter recalibration
- Reduced pressure zone (RPZ) setbacks that can allow contamination to back-up into fresh groundwater
- None of these problems are advisable when managing frac water consumption. Automated frac water dispensing stations significantly diminish their occurrence.
3. Accurate accountability
Automated bulk water dispensing also reduced the burden on accounting for the water.
Water haulers traditionally “estimate" the volume of water taken and record volumes on a sheet of paper left out in the elements until an administrator can take the sheets and manually enter the data into a spreadsheet.
Automated systems record the volumes to the gallon and billing and reporting can be done on demand or on a scheduled basis.
4. Hydrants should never be used to dispense water
It should also be remembered that hydrants are a component of municipal water systems, as a line of defense against local fires, and for similar purposes.
Accessing this supply of water may be delayed by the restrictions and red-tape that are often a price of dealing with local government.
Relying on automated bulk water dispensing stations can generate further cost savings by eliminating the dependence on local authorities and their resources.
Best management practices for hydraulic fracturing of shale strongly suggest the use of frac water dispensing stations for water supply and storage.