Today is National Recycling Day, a day to educate, motivate, and promote recycling across the nation. At Cabot, we try and do our part by recycling nearly 100% of our wastewater. For eight years, we have maintained a successful partnership with ComTech Industries to reduce and recycle water in the most efficient way possible. Water recycling at this rate not only results in a reduced demand of water but limits truck traffic and significantly decreases our carbon footprint.
We spoke to Ethan Greenley, Recycled Water Foreman, who grew up on a family farm in Wyoming County. Like Susquehanna County to the north, family-sustaining jobs were few and far between, which is why many of Greenley’s classmates left the region to pursue their educations. “If you weren’t a farmer, a logger, or having something to do with stone, your options were limited,” he expressed. Some returned, but most never looked back.
However, the influx of gas companies and their industry partners breathed new life into area agriculture and provided a host of alternative employment opportunities. Men and women like Greenley found entry-level positions with gas-related companies that offered incentives and rewards to dedicated workers whose ambitions paralleled the industry’s needs.
“I never anticipated coming into the gas industry,” said Greenley, who gained valuable experience during his seven years on the service side of natural gas in logistics, trucking and water management. Field experience, he suggested, is the most important element for anybody looking for advancement in the industry. “You learn a lot when you get your hands dirty.”
Prior to his introduction to the gas fields, Greenley shared the perception of many that, because the gas companies come from outside the region, they bring with them their own workforce. “The moment I walked in the door, I recognized familiar faces, including people that my parents and I had grown up with,” he recalled. “There are a lot of local hires here.”
At Cabot, Greenley oversees all water recycling and treatment processes. “We recycle nearly 100 percent of the water we get back. Cabot partners with Comtech Industries and Fluid Recovery Services (FRS) to recover both fluids and solids, which are processed at facilities in Susquehanna county.”
“These two companies are industry leaders, and they do a great job. The way that we treat our water has become a key part of our completion operations,” said Greenley. Mostly important, he noted, Cabot’s water recycling efforts result in a great reduction in the amount of fresh water needed for operations.
Many companies get the water back and send it to a disposal well or to another company to use, Greenley explained. “We bring water back up that we used for the frac, treat it to our spec, and reuse it. We keep everything in house, which allows us to be a lot more efficient and overall, we believe, and produces a better product,” Greenley stated. “I don’t believe that there is any other company around that goes to the lengths and as in-depth as we do.”
The company’s environmental responsibility and stewardship means a lot to the employees too, he related. “When you hire local people, we care about the environment two-fold. We live here and work here,” said Greenley. “We’re protecting ‘home’ when we can prevent something bad from happening. We’re working in our backyards. We take that extra step because we care.”
Meanwhile, back on the farm, Greenley is proud to be part of an industry that breathed fresh air into a sagging agricultural scene. Between royalties for gas extraction and money paid for land use, he explained, “The gas industry has given them a second chance. It has truly been a blessing and has given them another chance to do something they have a passion for.” The ground is giving back to the landowners and allowing them to continue to farm, often in a way that is much more enjoyable to them. “That’s a big deal around here. I can’t say that enough.”