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It aims to turn a major pollutant of streams and ponds – acid mine drainage – into badly needed minerals for everything from smartphones and electric cars to jet fighters and satellites.
If it works, at a price that can earn companies a profit, the process would provide a major incentive for companies to clean up waters and streams, cut costs for the mining industry, and plug a strategic hole for the United States, which currently imports most of those minerals from China.
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The project’s first phase began last May and ended this month with contributing journalists, nonprofit leads and community members coming together at West Virginia University’s Media Innovation Center to celebrate their work so far, which includes more than 20 multimedia pieces that cover the Ohio River’s environment, economy and culture.
The panel shared their own experiences working and living along the Ohio – the progress they’ve seen in healthy water levels and wildlife growth, how to handle new threats like the impacts of climate change, and redirecting the narrative from warning against the river’s dangers to reinvigorating the region’s tourism.
An assessment to determine any environmental deterrents that might impact the progress of completion of the site of the old Sutton Bank Building will be conducted with the help of a grant from the West Virginia Brownfields Assistance Center at WVU. (WVU Photo)
MORGANTOWN, WV - The rusty orange streambed is a giveaway.
Paul Ziemkiewicz pulls off a winding country road at a stream about 45 kilometers east of Morgantown, West Virginia. The water is about as acidic as vinegar, he says. It's "100% fatal" to aquatic life.
MORGANTOWN — Various aspects of how the Mountain State can improve its economy through somewhat unconventional means were detailed by West Virginia University faculty and staff Monday morning.
Natural gas production in the US is at an all-time high, according to the latest reports from the US Energy Information Administration. But the dramatic growth of shale gas over the past decade, made possible by hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, has led to huge volumes of salty wastewater called brine or produced water.
As the fracking industry improves its efficiency by drilling ever-longer horizontal wells, it also increases the amount of water it uses to fracture the rock to release the gas. The fracturing process uses on average about 45 million L of water for a single horizontal well, according to the Groundwater Protection Council (GWPC), a group of state oil and gas regulators and environmental protection agencies.
Opinion piece by the by The Exponent Telegram:
We’re excited about the research being done at West Virginia University in regards to the state’s extractive natural resource industries.