Treatment site confirmed for Cuadrilla fracking flowback fluid

pnr 181225 ros wills4

Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road shale gas site, 25 December 2018. Photo: Ros Wills

Some of the waste flowback fluid from Cuadrilla’s fracking site in Lancashire was taken to a treatment centre in Leeds, the Environment Agency (EA) has confirmed.

The details emerged in a letter from an EA official to one of the region’s MPs, Yvette Cooper.

The official said:

“I can confirm that some of the waste flowback fluid from hydraulic fracturing at the Preston New Road site near Blackpool has been taken for treatment at the FCC Recycling (UK) Limited facility at Knostrop, Leeds.

“The waste flowback fluid is a brine solution containing dissolved metals, hydrocarbons, other organic and inorganic compounds, and naturally occurring radioactive material (NORM).”

EA letter on Knostrop

Extract of letter from the Environment Agency to Yvette Cooper

The FCC site was identified as a likely treatment site as far back as 2016. But Cuadrilla has not publicly confirmed the destination of its flowback fluid. It said the information was commercially confidential.

The FCC facility is next to, but separate from, Yorkshire Water’s Knostrop Sewage Treatment Works. FCC’s site has its own environmental permits and makes no direct discharges into the River Aire, the EA told Ms Cooper.

The letter explained what happened to the liquid waste after it had been treated at FCC:

“The liquid effluent resulting from the treatment process is discharged into the sewer following testing.

“The effluent from the sewer then receives further treatment at the Yorkshire Water Knostrop sewage treatment works before discharge to the River Aire. The final effluent discharged is subject to testing and monitoring.”

The EA also explained there were limits in environmental permits on:

  • levels of substances and radioactivity in the waste that can enter FCC Knostrop
  • radioactivity in the treated effluent discharged to sewer

The letter continued:

“A trade effluent consent issued by Yorkshire Water places restrictions on substances that can be discharged to sewer.

“The environmental permit for the Yorkshire Water sewage treatment works places limits on the levels of substances in the final effluent discharged to the River Aire.

“These limits are set at a level to ensure that people and the environment are protected and are not adversely affected as a result of the discharge.”


Photo: Reclaim the Power

Opponents of fracking have campaigned against the treatment of fracking waste at FCC Knostrop. They have argued that it would lead to increased traffic and the discharge of processed liquid into the River Aire.

In March 2017, an initiative called Break the Chain, targeted the treatment works and displayed satirical posters at bus stops in Leeds.

Campaigners said today they were concerned that the FCC site would take waste from other future fracking sites across northern England.

The EA letter said there were five facilities in England with permits that would allow for the treatment of flowback fluid from hydraulic fracturing. Other sites include: Northumbrian Water’s Bran Sands in Middlesbrough; Castle Environmental at Longport in Stoke-on-Trent; and FCC Environment at Ecclesfield in Sheffield.

53 replies »

  1. Before getting too high rate about this, it might be worth finding out what the composition of the flow back water was – I know exactly and I would gladly drink it

      • Peter – you and your clique really don’t seem to like people with strong science backgrounds who can challenge your incorrect narratives do you?

        • I am an individual not part of anyone’s’clique’!

          However I do count many people with strong science backgrounds amongst those I look to for advice when I am out of my depth in that field.

          So Julian, having done my own research over the last few years, I have come to the conclusion that only a total IDIOT would drink fracking flow back water!

          • Peter – could you share with us what the composition of the fluid is? Or are you just jumping to wild conclusions with no evidence?

            • Well Judith,

              As the wannabe frackers don’t want to tell us what it’s composed of going in, due to ‘commercial secrecy’ and the resulting outpouring has to be removed some 100 miles for processing to render it allegedly safe for dumping into a local river, even I can deduce, not assume, that only a total IDIOT would be willing to drink it!

              Or someone who’s paid to post drivel on a serious discussion forum like this!

              Do everyone a favour and remove yourself again. Thank you.


              Enjoy your fracking fluid toast on the way out!

  2. If the flowback water was drinkable, it would not need to go through such intensive processing, me thinks. We were informed that the flowback fluid was going to be re-used for future fracking. Since they have been moving the stuff off site, it looks there is no fracking planned at this site in the near to medium future. A quick look at the AJ Lucas Group Share price for the past six months will see a fall from 0.30 AUD to 0.093 AUD provides an insight to the lack of progress at PNR. Lets hope that there is enough money in the pot to restore this site.

    • Waffle – I guess that’s the problem with guessing instead of finding out the facts. I know exactly what the composition of the water is because I know the people dealing with it. It didn’t need much treatment and was only sent away to a treatment plant because that’s what had been agreed. Could you imagine what some of the people on this site would have said if it has not? In terms of reuse – much was doing the first phase but it’s not economically sensible to keep large storage tanks on site when they’re not needed.

  3. Yorkshire water own the FCC site. They leased it to FFC to dodge the flack over fracking.

    They released punic statements saying they had no plans to be involved in fracking at the same time as planning this plant with FFC.

    Yorkshire water are very susceptible to public opinion.
    More name and shame and posters please.

  4. There has never been any more or less water on the earth since time began! Fact!
    Nature been recycling water for millions of years, rain, perspiration etc… Fact! we have been using water in heavy industry for centuries, and there isn’t a shortage! Fact! The worlds climate is diverse obviously there are are warmer climates which struggle, droughts occur and that is tragic, but the UK has no water shortage, the water from anywhere has been recycled, and recycled and recycled whether naturally, Rain fall, soak away, filtered naturally, extracted bottled sold or piped to water facilities for use as our utility companies do!
    Please do not complicate the situation on water contamination and treatment!!, if the water needs to be treated, EA regulations wise it will be treated, if it needs to be re-injected , it will be treated then re-injected. I don’t see the issue!

      • Oh dear, Fifi it appears that Eli didnt do his research again did he? Fact

        Clearly Eli has never considered where water on the earth came from in the first place while it was still a molten rock in space? There are many ice asteroids in the various asteroid belts around the solar system that speak of ancient shattered planets where water was formed there by those processes and so on and so on back to who knows when, depending upon whether the illusive proposed Big Bang is accepted or not.

        There is a constant rain of those icy asteroids throughout the history of the Earth, and many others along with nickel iron and stone conglomerations in the form of meteors and asteroid collisions. one of which spelled the demise of the dinosaurs from which we are told, the fossil remnants formed the hydrocarbon (an interesting term considering the subject) fossil fuels which the industry is so obsessed by, rather than using those natural renewable energy resources that abound around us at this very moment.

        But in fact no one actually knows where all that water originated from, some say from space, which begs the question of where that came from, and some say it is a natural function of the planet to form complex chemical compounds, like water, from its basic elements by pressure and heat and electromagnetic influence from the Earth’s electromagnetic field and that of the sun.

        So that curiously inaccurate statement from Eli is quite far from the truth. Fact.

        Firstly, these websites indicate just how little water there is on the Earth and how little of that is available to us as potable clear drinking water, look at the size of the spheres to see just what the proportions are:

        The other fact that blows that Eli argument out of the….water….is that the chemical composition of water is H2O, Two atoms of hydrogen and one of oxygen in a covalent bond, water is in fact extremely reactive and can take on many forms from gas to ice dependent upon what the conditions are in its vicinity, the Nile river is famous for having two currents that are acidic in one and alkali in the other. So water reacts to its surroundings in the most remarkable way, and is hence far from a static permanent stable chemical in form or volume.

        In other words water can be formed from the basic elements of two atoms of hydrogen and one of oxygen, and water can also be broken down into its basic elements, the total water supply is far from stable.

        Poisoning and partial treatment, which i see is not mentioned as to the effect or quality of the result and then dumping into the ocean or in rivers and water courses by industrialised processes criminally wastes vast amounts of the tiny amount of potable water that is available to us in this country and worldwide, and the prospect of contaminating potable water by fracking and its related avoidances of the word is utter suicidal insanity.

        As to those who would drink the results of the industrial processes, well, i would not recommend it, and the statement itself is so blatantly stupid and potentially life threatening, it amounts to irresponsible hubris and such irresponsible behaviour may find its way to less discerning eyes and ears, such encouragement to a such a dangerous practice should be retracted.

        Perhaps Cuadrilla could provide a sample, independently checked and verified of course, and we should arrange a video to demonstrate just that by the proposer?

        But seriously that is not at all recommended and i doubt if the NHS or the EA or the OGA would be amused either, since the consequences will only serve to demonstrate the opposite of the claim.

          • A rational reply about water would have been preferable Eli? But i guess that would be too much to expect….you should take more water with it….

          • Eli – Phil C doesn’t seem to grasp material balance so doesn’t realise that the combustion of methane from a shale gas well produces more water than is injected to frack the well.

            • Dear “Judith?” darling, i grasp much more than that. However apparently Eli doesnt know who he is talking to anyway, or indeed what he is saying.

              Maybe he does not grasp the relatively simple physics of the Earth’s natural hydrological cycle. Not to mention that the linked image of the Earth and the three water droplets represents spheres of the amount of water relative to the Earth, and only look flat on the page?

              But perhaps you would claim that he is not qualified to have an opinion anyway?

              Judging by Eli’s subsequent bizarrely evasive reply, maybe the consuming of toxic flow back waste water is already a guilty practice amongst those of such persuasions? It cant be good for the brain, or apparently rational thought either.

              Now perhaps we can see precisely why that is such a dangerous if not cognitively terminal habit?

              Don’t try this at home folks, you can see the results right here.

              • Well well, good morning ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, what an interesting week? It’s Sunday again and it’s the 33rd (an interesting number for those who who find such things relevant) since fracking was resurrected and was claimed to be the gas revolution for 2019, but then caused earthquakes above the gold standard world class standards that were agreed by the operators and no gas was forthcoming apart from a brief propane flare and a fizzing core.

                The TLS 0.5 limit was regularly exceeded however and the operation by Cuadrilla had to be shut down, in spite of the very loud and insistent shouted claims only weeks previously on Drill or Drop that (please insert your own capital letters) “fracking does not cause earthquakes, ever, end of”….well, certainly it was the end of that nonsense anyway.

                Then of course we saw the equally infective attempts to overturn the gold standard world class TLS 0.5 limit and moves were made to make fracking exploration and production Nationally Significant Infrastructure and Permitted Development, which would have taken any discussion or objection on the subject out of the public domain and made planning development control decisions entirely irrelevant.

                That came to nought too, it appears the government is rapidly distancing themselves from the entire fossil fuel industry attempts to ransack the country for profit, due to the growing public objection and the scientific climate change revolution.

                We have seen and many of us participated in the series of peaceful countrywide and worldwide school strikes and marches for climate change recognition and action, 1.6 million of us worldwide at the last estimate, with the latest one on Friday 24th of May but you will not hear that on the media unless it is a negative spin. And then of course the two week peaceful protests in London organised by Extinction Rebellion which were unavoidable for the media to ignore.

                All of that is attempted to be drowned out by the ongoing brexit debacle of course, the ultimate false flag event to divert attention away from the real issues.

                And now we see that Theresa May will be resigning in June 7th because of the utter incompetence of this government over the brexit issue, and now we see the desperate Tory scramble for PM is now in full spite so that will be all we see and hear on the compromised media.

                But of course the climate change issue and the sixth extinction event in the Earth’s history are far far bigger in importance than any political rearranging of the dummies on the deckchairs of the sinking planetary Titanic with yet more icebergs yet to come.

                So, what to say today that even begins to approach all that in a song? Tough one.

                This is from the original by Nick Drake “River Man”.

                With deepest apologies to the Estate of Nick Drake and family, for altering the lyrics to suit these crazy times
                But perhaps Nick you would understand why, i am sure you would.

                Nick Drake

                “Dying River Man”

                Tessa came by on her way
                Said she had a word to say
                About things today
                And fallen thieves.

                Said she hadn’t heard the news
                About climate strikes from children’s schools
                Her way to choose
                But still deceives.

                Gonna to see the dying river man
                Gonna to tell him all I can
                About the plan
                For future times.

                If he tells me all he knows
                About the state his river shows
                About the poisoned waste that flows
                In summertime.

                Tessa said she prayed today
                For the House to blow away
                Of May-be her dis-May
                She wasn’t sure.

                For when she thought of climate change
                Calling for her blind ashamed
                She felt the pain
                But stayed for more.

                Gonna to see the driller man
                Gonna to tell him all I can
                About the ban
                On fracking free.

                If he tells me all he knows
                About the children’s future woes
                I don’t suppose
                It means much to May.

                Oh, how they lie and go
                Oh, how they lie and go.

                Well, have a good Sunday with family and friends, and maybe spare a thought during all this tragic political diversion trash, that its the real issues of millions in financial poverty in a so called rich country, and the accelerating climate change degradation and the sixth major extinction in the history of the Earth. It is the truth that will decide our future and that of future generations to come, not some mere switch of painted political puppets dangled out of our media screens to amuse the sleepwatchers.

                • Oh, we do hear about it in the media.

                  Last bit was about 1100 to be charged!

                  We also hear about the great alternative plans.

                  Just lost an election in Australia, and in todays press-“Is Tesla on the road to oblivion?”

                  But “nice” to see how UK is helping poor little China with Foreign Aid to get their fracking underway utilising UK extensive experience!

                  Spot the fake news. Not too difficult.

                • Dear me, you reading me again Martian? And after all those fake news claims to the contrary too? And we see that your posts still have no verification or attributed sources either?

                  Did you ask for my permission to quote me or the fake news sources you are hooked on?


                  Mere unattributed fiction then isn’t it, fake news is as fake news does old thing.


                  Those 1200 people wanted to be arrested Oh purveyor of bitter bile and fake news, that was the purpose of the exercise don’t you know.

                  But actually I was talking about Fridays school strike for climate, but I see you avoid that. I wonder why?


                  You still in Straya mate? Nahh mate didn’t you watch The Bentley Effect? You need to widen those wibbly wobbly horizons of yours mate. It’s a big wide world out there, and these measly little redacted censored biased little rags you read ain’t even on the map old thing. Here there be dragons is all you will read.

                  There are more things in heaven and earth than ever dreamed of in your philosophy Martian.

                  Time to wake up and start thinking about solutions to the world’s problems, not dwelling on propagating yesterday’s fake news as you display here.

                  Oh yes, and have a nice day.

  5. There is no water shortage in the UK Fifi. Just water in the wrong place reference where the population has decided to live.

    Always been thus. So, now there are plans to control population. There have long been plans to redistribute water and that can be expanded. Seem to recall that many years ago it was decided the high rainfall in Wales could assist the population and industry in the Midlands.

    Perhaps it is not beyond the wit of man to calculate such things as water requirement against house building and make the necessary arrangements? Problem with that may be the proposal that such things will be added to our taxes whether you live in the South of England or not, if the Marx Brothers get their way.

    • So what Fifi?

      Which area was the only one with a hose pipe ban last summer? N.Ireland.

      Which area experienced record rainfall the winter just gone? N.Ireland.

      So here’s a novel idea. N.Ireland could do with some more water storage, and less leaking pipes.

      Donations are acceptable for solving that little issue.


  6. Can I just apologise to the good people of Yorkshire for failing to prevent Cuadrilla producing the massive amounts of contaminated fluids at their Preston New Road fracking site?
    This apology is on behalf of all free thinking residents of Lancashire! We must do better!

    • Peter – could you provide evidence that the fluid being transported from PNR is significantly contaminated. In fact the people of Yorkshire should be thanking Cuadrilla for giving them a very work

      • Quite simply Judith,
        If the fluid was sampled and found to be only minimally contaminated it would have been cleansed by the local treatment facility at Garstang before being reintroduced into our drinking water! As per normal, reducing diesel emissions and fuel costs!
        Obviously you and your propaganda machine have no local knowledge!

        • Peter – you’re wrong. I have full access to the composition of the produced water. It’s what I do for a job! I guess you have no qualifications and very little knowledge of chemistry

  7. This whole “debate” is really amusing. The pennine rivers that eventually discharge into the Humber, carry heavy metal sediment loads due to the legacy of mining in the North Pennine Orefield since Roman times. Domestic sewage, pesticide & nitrate & road run off & water abstraction are the real issues of our modern times, not a teeny weeny volume of treated frack water. I wish these campaigners would get real & stop scaring the public.

    • The public put at risk in this instance is the public living over the border in the land of the White Rose.
      Oh out of interest the amounts of contaminated fracking byproduct fluids are not ‘teeny weeny’ but ridiculously massive considering the pathetic attempt at fracking carried out, just 5 out of over 40 stages!
      Imagine if you can the seriously gigantic amounts of contaminated fracking fluid byproduct to be dealt with were industrial scale fracking to commence?
      Do your own research Judith via Environment Agency, Cuadrilla or United Utilities if you want exact amounts! I cannot be bothered!

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