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Published February 25 2012

Ask Your Government: Reader asks about recovery plant for fracking liquids

Dear Teri,

Just wondering if anyone in North Dakota government is looking at building/contracting a recovery plant for used fracking liquids? I truly believe that this plant would get our state out in front on the issue, as well as being able to exert some control over the process. Biological markers could be introduced pre-fracking and then confirmed when the liquids were returned to the recovery site.

Donald Barcome Jr.

Grand Forks

Thanks for writing! I contacted a few people about your question. I started with Department of Mineral Resources Assistant Director Bruce Hicks. He said they aren’t in the business of recovering and recycling fluids, but they are interested in it. He referred me to the Health Department to see if they could tell me anything more.

Health Department spokeswoman Stacy Eberl sent the question to Dave Glatt, Environmental Health Section chief.

“Some vendors have informally contacted us regarding the possibility, but there are not concrete plans for a plant like this at this time,” she told me after talking to Glatt.

I also contacted the Energy & Environmental Research Center in Grand Forks. Spokesman Derek Walters said the EERC is aware of several private-sector entities evaluating potential facilities but cannot comment specifically.

The EERC has published studies in partnership with the North Dakota Industrial Commission regarding current practices for hydraulic fracturing, which focused on the challenge mentioned, he said.

One is called Bakken Water Opportunities Assessment – Phase 1. “The Energy & Environmental Research Center Northern Great Plains Water Consortium identified a potential opportunity to economically treat and reuse water that is used in hydraulic fracturing operations in the Bakken oil formation in North Dakota,” according to the description on the EERC website.

You can find more information about this at www.undeerc.org/bakken. Click on current research studies.

Dear Teri,

If someone gets a violation for excessive weight while driving a commercial motor vehicle, would they get points assessed against their license along with the fine or just the fine?

Sonia Felix


Thanks for writing! I asked the Highway Patrol about this. Capt. Eldon Mehrer told me there are no points assessed for overweight penalties.

“The overload fees are a civil penalty and are incremental based on the number of pounds over legal weights,” he said.

Do you have a question for a North Dakota state government official or agency? Send us your question, and we’ll do our best to find an answer.

E-mail politics@wday.com (Subject: Ask your government).

You may also write to Teri Finneman c/o Forum Communications, Press Room, State Capitol, Bismarck, ND 58505.

Please include your name, town and a phone number to reach you for verification.

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Teri Finneman is a multimedia reporter for Forum Communications Co.