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February 20, 2014

New company offers county benefits

Fairmont Brine Processing brings new jobs, products

FAIRMONT — A new company in Marion County could bring several benefits to the area.

During Wednesday’s county commission meeting, Brian Kalt, general manager of Fairmont Brine Processing (FBP), told commissioners as well as representatives from around the state and other Marion County municipalities that his company will bring new jobs and products to the county.

Kalt said FBP takes flow back from the hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, process and recycles it for reuse. He said the process creates a number of  byproducts including treated brine, distilled water and dry rock salt. These byproducts can be used for treating roads in the winter.

Kalt said when the facility is in full swing, it will produce 40 to 80 tons of salt per day.

“We could ultimately end up supplying, at minimum, all of Marion County,” he said.

As for bringing jobs to the area, Kalt said 25 jobs will be created with FBP. He said the jobs will come with full benefits. Some of the jobs will require specialized training, but others might not.

“Ideally, we would seek employees who have a technical, mechanical, electrical background,” he said. “It is a little specialized, but there is room for not-so-specialized skill sets.”

In helping municipalities, Kalt said FBP would donate a limited amount of salt and then possibly offer the product to them at a discounted cost.

“We could donate a little bit, but at the end of the day it’s a very expensive process to produce salt, but we would be more than happy to give it away for much cheaper than $55 a ton,” Kalt said.

There are other ways to dispose of fracking water, including injecting it back into the ground. That process is referred to as deep-well disposal. Kalt said with FBP recycling this water, it’s cheaper and environmentally friendly.

“We’re just an alternative to deep-well disposal,” he said. “We create those byproducts for reuse in order to not pull from lakes, rivers and streams. (Fracking) can use distilled water.”

Kalt said FBP purchased the facility that formerly held AOP Clearwater, a salt-producing company in Fairmont. The 40-acre facility is located on AFR Drive in Fairmont off Hoult Road.

FBP’s target area from which it draws frack water is within a 60-miles radius. Kalt said the company is set up to receive 15,000 barrels, or 630,000 gallons, of frack water per day.

Because FBP is located along the Monongahela River, local officials asked about the holding tanks on the property. Kalt assured those in attendance that the holding tank and basins are lined.

“The barium and heavy metals stay in that concrete basin, which is nowhere near the river,” he added.

Kalt said FBP is permitted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and has a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit.

“The amount of sampling analysis that we’re required to do and report with third- and fourth-party labs is very stringent,” Kalt said. “The chance of barium getting anywhere near that river is nonexistent.”

Kalt said FBP has been receiving flow back since August. He said May is when they will start producing salt.

Email Emily Gallagher at egallagher@timeswv.com or follow her on Twitter @EGallagherTWV.

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