What natural gas development looks like: trucks conveying water, waste, or sand.  

Rumble in Northern PA, part B

What happens when a (temporarily) unemployed biologist has gone too long without collecting data?  If that biologist is me, she gets a bit obsessed with small things, namely the technical equipment used to map natural gas-containing shale.  For the past few weeks, these orange units have dotted the neighborhoods near where I live, and for some reason I wanted to count them.

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Seismic testing is underway in Wellsboro, PA.  These units read the sound waves that are reflected off subsurface rock formations following release of ‘controlled acoustic energy’.

SRBC consumptive water use data.  From Managing and Protecting Water Resources in the Susquehanna Basin August 19, 2010

SRBC consumptive water use data.  From Managing and Protecting Water Resources in the Susquehanna Basin August 19, 2010

On the sources of frack water in Ohio and Pennsylvania

Today Marcellus Drilling News (MDN) posted a short piece about water woes in Ohio. The point of the piece was to poke holes in arguments made by Ohio environmental groups regarding water withdrawals for fracking, by highlighting that the amount of water used in fracking is “a thimble’s” worth compared to what is used for other uses such as thermoelectric power generation.  

MDN talks about Pennsylvania, where water removals for drilling are a small proportion of total fresh water removals, despite the large number of wells.  (I assume no relevant data are yet summarized in Ohio?) They then show a figure from the Susquehanna River Basin Commission to back this claim.  (Note: The SRBC is a federal-interstate commission that manages water resources within the Susquehanna drainage basin, which is in southern NY State and central-east PA.)

Here is the figure MDN posted, which gives SRBC data on water withdrawal for different industries in the Susquehanna region: 

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“Then things happened [Mansfield PA chef-owner Aaron Hulslander] didn’t dream of. The gas crews started ordering “twelve and thirteen hamburger pickup orders, one after another, it gets real hectic” and “fifteen or twenty Philly Cheesesteaks (the 76er) to go.” A sea change in his perception of things came with the takeout order in late January for the Farley Burger, until then a popular but novelty item for many diners: a gas crew wanted twenty of them. Say what?”
Big Eats: Gas workers spark a dining out boom.  Mountain Home Magazine (Pennsylvania/Finger Lakes NY) February 2010.