Fracking May Be an Environmental Disaster, but It’s a Goldmine for the Water Treatment Industry

With hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking” — the use of high pressure water to help extract previously inaccessible shale gas, the U.S., the market for water treatment will grow nine-fold to $9 billion in 2020. This expansion will spur technology innovation and novel thinking about water disposal and reuse, but the field is rapidly growing overcrowded, creating significant risk for new entrants, Lux Research said in a report.

Fracking requires between 4,000 m(3) and over 22,000 m(3) (25,000 bbl to 140,000 bbl) of water per well and produces toxin-laced brine that can be more than six times as salty as the sea. Its growth has energized the water industry, inspiring a bumper crop of new water treatment startups vying to treat the highly challenging flowback water.

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