NEWPORT, Ohio - As GreenHunter Water officials await the U.S. Coast Guard's approval to barge hydraulic fracking waste on the Ohio River from its facility in Warwood, the company has opened a brine injection plant in Washington County, Ohio.
GreenHunter opened the new facility near the Ohio River in Newport, last week. Company officials believe the site has at least a 1,200 barrels per day injection capacity.
"We have been working on this project for over a year. Our oilfield customers have increased their demand for disposal capacity recently, and we have been working hard to bring on additional water handling capabilities to alleviate the increased supply constraints being experienced in this region," John Jack, vice president of business development for GreenHunter, said.
Jack said having the injection site located in the heart of the Marcellus and Utica shale regions is key because many drillers need a place to dump their brine waste when they can no longer recycle or reuse it. The waste is injected into the earth.
GreenHunter also continues to wait to begin construction at the Wheeling facility, according to Jack. However, he said this should begin soon.
The work in Wheeling could come amid heavy opposition from the "Wheeling Water Warriors."
"We are still hoping GreenHunter will not move forward," said Wheeling Water Warrior Erin Bowers in noting she was at the Warwood site Sunday for the Great Ohio River Relay. "We are still researching all options in this matter."
GreenHunter also still awaits permission to place the waste on barges to transport it down river for disposal.
"Right now, we are still working diligently with the Coast Guard to obtain all the proper approvals," Jack said.
The Coast Guard also said it is working through the process. "The Hazardous Materials Division at Coast Guard headquarters is currently developing policy guidance to address this issue," Cmdr. Emily Saddler of the Eighth Coast Guard District said on Monday.
Tom Connelly, assistant director of the Wheeling Economic and Community Development Department, believes GreenHunter also will need a zone change to use the docks extending out into the Ohio River from the former Seidler's Oil site. Connelly said the Wheeling Heritage Trail and these docks are now zoned for residential use, rather than industrial use. However, Jack disagrees that a zone change is needed.
"We have a utility easement for the pipeline to service the facility and barges," Jack said, noting he believes the trail "will not be impacted at all."
Jack said there will be 19 storage tanks at the North 28th Street site, but emphasized the old rusty tanks left over from Seidler's will be dismantled and removed.