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Water & Energy

The water and energy system in the United States are interdependent. Water is used during energy production and electricity generation. Energy is needed to extract and deliver water to places of use, as well as for water treatment.  

In Oct. 2012, a brand-new collaboration was born. Led by Ohio Water Resources Center Associate Director Zuzana Bohrerova, the Shale Environmental Management Research Cluster uses sustainability science and engineering approaches to address diverse environmental management issues related to all aspects of shale energy development. The investigators seek to develop technologies and techniques for measuring and minimizing environmental impact, from reducing water needs to smart sensing and treatment to modified drill pad construction. To learn more about this collaboration please visit the Environmental Sciences Network website.

Furthermore, the Ohio Water Resources Center (WRC) created a valuable partnership with the Office of Energy and Environment at the Ohio State University, which enables us to fund additional water and energy nexus research.

The Ohio WRC funded, in the last five years, over 8 proposals dealing with this issue, including topics ranging from historical legacies of coal mining (acid mine drainage) to emerging shale gas development issues.

Treating coal mine drainage with bacteria

One of the most serious water-quality problems in the Appalachian coal mining regions is acid mine drainage (AMD), where high levels of acid and iron can create long stretches of "dead" streams. John Senko from University of Akron, supported by Ohio Water Resources Center funds, discovered that adding certain bacteria to AMD speeds oxidation and removes the iron. This discovery could lead to an inexpensive, efficient and sustainable solution to treating AMD.

Other Current Research Projects

  • Developing Integrated Assessments of Water and Energy Ohio Research, Jeff Bielicki, OSU
  • Soil development on coal mine tailings; impact on trace metal sources and mobility to acid mine drainage, David Singer, KSU
  • Hydraulic Fracturing Impacts on Stream Flows & Water Supply, Suresh Sharma, YSU
  • Water Quality and Ecosystem Health with Shale Energy, Elizabeth Toman, OSU