Warwood Frack Water Plant on Ohio River
12 May 2013
By Casey Junkins
NEW MATAMORAS, OH – John Jack is confident that GreenHunter
Water’s plans to store nearly 800,000 gallons of natural gas frack
water in the Warwood section of Wheeling will become a reality.
John Jack, GreenHunter vice president, shows the storage tanks the
company refurbished upon purchasing this facility along Ohio 7 in
New Matamoras. He also hopes that once built, the local community
will grow to appreciate the recycling facility.
“I am encouraged – it is going to happen,” Jack said regarding the
Wheeling barging and frack recycling plant proposed for North 28th
Street at the former Seidler’s Oil Service. “Ultimately, Wheeling
will benefit from this.”
Strong opposition to GreenHunter’s Wheeling project persists,
though, as a group of residents calling themselves the “Wheeling
Water Warriors” continue collecting signatures of people who
oppose the plant. They recently held a protest in Warwood’s Garden
Park, emphasizing they do not want frack wastewater stored only
about a mile north of the Wheeling Water Plant.
Jack realizes some do not support his company’s work, as
Washington County, Ohio sheriff’s deputies arrested 10 people in
February for protesting at the New Matamoras facility, including
one man who climbed to the top of one of the storage tanks.
“Once we get our two variances approved, we will submit a final
site plan,” he said of the papers that would go to the Wheeling
Planning Commission. “We are moving as quickly as we can.”
He said the first variance is a request to reduce the number of
required parking spaces from 27 to 13. The second is a request to
cover the site’s surface with gravel, rather than asphalt. “Those
are not major issues. If they say they want us to have 27, we’ll
have 27. If they want asphalt, we’ll use asphalt,” he said.
But it appears as if the city is gearing up for a legal fight with
GreenHunter. City Manager Robert Herron said Wheeling leaders
believe the company will need to request a zone change to cross
the Wheeling Heritage Trail to reach the barging terminal along
the Ohio River. Although the main site of GreenHunter’s project is
zoned for industrial use, the area from the trail to the river is
He said the Wheeling facility will operate 24 hours per day every
day, though he said “90 percent to 95 percent” of the trucks that
come through each day will do so during daytime hours. Though Jack
said the number of trucks entering and exiting the facility each
day could vary widely, he said a “good daily estimate” would be
Though the 12 full-time workers GreenHunter plans to have on site
may seem small, Jack noted the company will also be paying
business and occupation taxes and fire service fees to the city.
“Whatever the tax obligations are to work in Wheeling, we will
meet those obligations,” he said.
After treating the frack water, GreenHunter plans to ship brine
water – the vast majority of its volume, according to Jack – by
truck back to well sites for re-use. Solid waste would go to a
landfill outside Parkersburg, with liquid waste taken by barge for
disposal at one of several deep injection wells.
The U.S. Coast Guard continues to review whether fracking waste
can be shipped on inland waterways via barge. Jack contends there
is less chance of an accident on the river compared to roadways.
“There are hydrocarbons on the river all day long,” Jack said in
terms of coal and gasoline shipments. “What will be going out on
our barges is non-hazardous.”
Though GreenHunter’s recycling process removes the suspended
solids from the frack water, Jack admits trace amounts of
chemicals and salts will remain in the water. Though radium and
uranium are considered radioactive, he said these elements will be
minuscule in volume. He said the Coast Guard will eventually allow
the Marcellus and Utica frack waste to be barged, noting, “It is
not a matter of if, but when.”
However, residents need not fear huge amounts of barge traffic, as
Jack estimates only one such vessel will leave the Warwood dock