This regional water sourcing assessment sought to evaluate and identify surface and groundwater sources to support Marcellus Shale hydraulic fracturing operations in West Virginia.
The investigation team had to pay close attention to quality and quantity of available water resources, as well as location in respect to intended well operation sites. Even an ideal water resource could result in extra costs, depending on surrounding environment and potential contamination. This required the team to identify a healthy, sizeable water resource in proximity to well site operations that would not result in ecological damage or impair the water resource.
Kleinfelder’s team of experts first conducted a thorough regional assessment to identify potentially viable water sources throughout West Virginia—including major rivers, local streams, and flooded abandoned coal mines. The team prepared an optimization framework that ranks water quality, quantity, proximity, cost, logistics, and environmental concerns. By ranking sites according to three qualitative criteria—favorable, feasible, or infeasible—Kleinfelder could easily communicate investigation results with concerned stakeholders.
Thorough investigations and an easy-to-explain data framework enabled Kleinfelder to identify flooded abandoned coal mines as a promising and innovative source of low-cost, high-quantity, high-quality water for hydraulic fracturing operations—providing oil and gas operators with a potentially invaluable project resource for future capital investments.