Ecosphere Technologies, Inc. (OTCBB: ESPH) seems to have a technology that cleans the water used for natural gas fracking, which could solve one of the problems related to the controversial practice.
Fracking, requires as much as 7.5 million gallons of water per well, mixed with toxic chemicals, be pumped underground to crack open rock and allow natural gas to flow to the surface.
The EPA confirmed that it pollutes drinking water.
The company has a contract with Montana's Blackfeet Nation to provide its Ozonix water treatment services to oil and gas companies conducting fracking operations on the 3,000 square mile reservation.
Fracking operators will be able to use a non-chemical approach for treating and reusing 100% of the flowback that comes out of the wells.
The system will help preserve Blackfeet Nation's water resources and eliminate the need to truck wastewater to disposal sites off reservation, thereby improving the economics of shale oil and gas exploration on the reservation.
"We chose to partner with Ecosphere after spending significant time and effort evaluating all available water treatment technologies in the market," says Grinnell Day Chief, Oil and Gas Manager for the Blackfeet Tribe. "We visited the frack sites where Ecosphere is replacing traditional chemicals with Ozonix for its customers and recycling 100% of their water. By providing the oil and gas companies operating on our land with access to this environmentally sound and cost-effective technology, we are reinforcing our commitment to improving the quality of life for our people through economic development of our energy resources while also preserving our vital natural water resources for future generations."
Ecosphere says its technology has enabled oil and gas customers to recycle and reuse over 1 billion gallons of water on about 500 oil and natural gas wells in major shale areas across the country.
The Blackfeet reservation, with 16,000 members, is one of the largest American Indian tribes in the US. The 3000 square mile (1.5 million acre) reservation is located along the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains, bordered by Canada and Glacier National Park, between the mountains and the prairie. It is part of a sensitive and important ecosystem in northwestern Montana and is larger than the state of Delaware. It's home to grizzly bears, black bears, mountain goats, bighorn sheep, lynx, elk, deer, bull trout, eight major lakes and approximately 175 miles of fishing streams.
The Blackfeet reservation sits on top of Bakken shale, a formation that has experienced a recent boom of activity in the Williston Basin (located in North Dakota and Eastern Montana).
Several major oil and gas companies including Newfield Exploration, Rosetta Resources and Anschutz Exploration have secured mineral rights from the Blackfeet Tribe and are actively drilling vertical and horizontal wells on the reservation.
Ecosphere, which is listed as one of the top innovators among water companies, cleans water with a mobile, low-maintenance process. It uses a high-volume, advanced oxidation process that recycles water while reducing liquid chemicals used during water treatment. The company raised $5 million in 2006.
In only six years, 450,000 fracking wells have been drilled in 31
states and that's only the beginning. The industry has plans for tens of thousands more wells where billions of gallons of water mixed with industrial poisons will be pumped underground.