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Marcellus Shale: The Trillion Dollar Question

We’re sitting on what may be the second-largest natural-gas field in the world—but is it possible to improve our air and water while making the most of the enormous economic opportunity?

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Venkee Sharma
President and chief executive officer, Aquatech International Corp.

Aquatech is a global leader in water-purification technology. We focus on helping our clients manage their water use by minimizing consumption, maximizing reuse and eliminating waste.

A typical project for us could include desalinating seawater, recycling acid-mine drainage or taking an industrial facility to zero liquid discharge, which means that all water is recycled and any waste is evaporated into a safely disposable solid or saleable product. Our client list includes many of the world’s top energy companies and utilities.

Founded in 1981 in the Pittsburgh region and headquartered in Canonsburg, Aquatech has over 1,000 operating facilities in over 60 countries. Traditionally active all around the country and world, our company sees the emergence of the Marcellus Shale industry as an opportunity to address water issues right in our own backyard.
For the unique water challenges of the Marcellus Shale, we focused on developing a solution that is environmentally compliant, economical and infrastructure-friendly. The result was our MoSuite™ portfolio of solutions, centered on taking our cutting-edge technologies and scaling them to a mobile platform for treatment at the well pad.

The plug-and-play approach to treatment includes units for pre-treatment, evaporation and sludge management. An example of this is MoVap, our mobile evaporator, which enables waters to be reused or returned to the environment in compliance with National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits.

Our solutions help reduce the total amount of freshwater required for gas exploration as well as significantly reduce the amount of wastewater that must be transported off-site for further treatment and disposal. This reduces truck traffic and also reduces fresh draw of surface waters.

In order to fully realize the economic potential of Marcellus Shale, we must solve the various water challenges being faced by the gas industry. Aquatech is able to apply globally proven technology in order to provide a reliable, sustainable and adaptable solution for these challenges.

In Pennsylvania we are lucky to have energy resources such as coal and gas. The wastewaters generated during the production of these fuels can be successfully converted to clean water and reusable solids today, thus allowing us to strike the important balance between economic growth and development, and environmental stewardship.

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Christine H. O’Toole, a feature writer who lives in Mt. Lebanon, is a frequent contributor to Pittsburgh magazine.

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