Concerned about the contamination potential increased oil exploration and fracking could bring to their land, the Blackfeet Nation in northwestern Montana has signed an agreement with a hi-tech water treatment company to help keep fracking waste out of their water systems.
Exploration for oil has exploded on the Blackfeet Reservation. The people have worked hard to protect sacred sites around the area and hope the contract with Ecosphere Technologies will protect the water.
Missoulian reporter Tristan Scott has the full story:
The Blackfeet Nation signed an exclusive letter of commitment with the water treatment company, Florida-based Ecosphere Technologies Inc., which has ties to Whitefish and will soon introduce its chemical-free treatment method to reservation lands leased for “fracking.”
The fracking process involves pumping millions of gallons of water into the ground at high pressure to fracture shale formations and create pathways for natural gas to flow back to the surface. The process is controversial because about 70 percent of the fracking fluid remains underground, and the flow-back water contains oil sheens, heavy metals and bacteria. The refuse must then be collected and trucked off site for disposal or storage.
Ecosphere Chairman and CEO Charles Vinick said his company’s patented treatment process, called Ozonix, involves a non-chemical method of recovering and sanitizing all of the water pumped underground. The process uses ozone to decompose contaminants and chemicals in the flow-back water, precluding the need to truck the discharge off site. Instead, Vinick said the highly ozonated water can be recycled and reused for continuous fracking operations, saving energy companies money, protecting the environment and preserving the community’s water supply.