PITTSBURGH (AP) -- Water, as much as natural gas, is the lifeblood of the Marcellus Shale play. Drillers need millions of gallons of water to flush the gas out of its hiding spot, deep below ground. Water is hauled by truck, imported by pipeline, collected on-site by retention impoundments and spirited away to a treatment or disposal facility once the fracking fluid has been spent.
Not only do drillers need a lot of water, they also need a very specific amount of water -- per week, per day, even per hour.
So how do they track all that water?
Increasingly, by computers, using a complex network of software, GPS devices and electronic manifests. The more transport and trucking companies that adopt such real-time tracking technologies, the less chance of a rogue hauler taking wastewater where he's not supposed to or dumping it in a river.
That's what's alleged to have happened between 2003 and 2009. In March, Robert A. Shipman was arraigned on charges related to illegal dumping by his company, Allan's Waste Water Services Inc. of Greene County, and related companies. In all, Shipman and his company face 175 criminal charges, as recommended by a grand jury.
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