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Driller Wants to Use Fracking Waste as Paving Material

Range Resources wants to use gas well drilling waste rock material to build Marcellus and Utica shale gas drilling pads and access roads, the Pittsburg Post-Gazette reports.

The fracking company has applied for a Pennsylvania “beneficial use” permit — the first by a Marcellus Shale gas drilling company — to use the drilling cuttings as paving material.

A company spokesman tells the newspaper that using drilling cuttings for road and pad construction is allowed in Texas. He says it would save Range Resource money by reducing disposal and paving costs, and would also benefit the environment by reducing the amount of mined aggregate needed and the amount of waste material sent to landfills.

Drilling cuttings are currently either buried on site or transported to a landfill. In 2012, shale gas drillers disposed of about a million tons of waste in Pennsylvania landfills, most of it drill cuttings, the Post-Gazette reports.

Fracking waste disposal represents a $30 billion annual expansion of the waste disposal business, industry executives said at the WasteExpo in New Orleans in May.

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