Some time ago, I saw something on TV about how fracking was contaminating the local ground water with methane. As a result, when a nearby resident put a match to their kitchen faucet, the water would actually light on fire!
The residents and farmers could not drink the water from their own taps. Nor shower with the water. Showering affected the skin in a horrible way. They did not dare drink the water, as it would do the same thing to the inside of the body, with no way to relieve it! All their water needed to be trucked in, at significant expense.
HyCap Energy in Wyoming has come up with an expensive ($55K) device to clean the water of methane. It extracts methane from the water, allowing it to be used as energy. Apparently, if there is enough methane, they will install the equipment at their own expense, and share in the revenues.
But recently, I thought of a simpler way to clean the water of methane.
Before entering the house, the water would be aerated and enter a wide, and very shallow pool. Perhaps measuring a number of feet in each direction, but only an inch or two deep.
It would work similar to the radiator of a car, with a very high surface area to volume ratio. So, most of the water would be exposed to air. My assumption is, by exposing the contaminated water to air, the methane would bleed off into the air naturally.
There could even be passages that would circulate the water up and down from one end of the pool to the other, and expose more of it to the air.
The water would then be pumped into a tank for storage. Filtration or other processes could then be applied to the water as well.
Another thought soon came to me. When water runs over the ground, and rocks, I understand that the ground and rocks act as a filter on the water. It would be easy enough to make a stone water fountain, with the water running down a slope.
The slope could be made of earth, and covered with stepped bathroom ceramic tile. The steps would then be covered with rocks. It could drain into the pool for more evaporation, or perhaps directly into the tank.
Some websites on stone water fountains are here:
Given that there is a risk of fire, the pool should be outside, and everything made of stone, ceramic or metal, so that it could not burn. So, no PVC pipe or plastic swimming pools.
The advantage of this system is that it would be relatively simple and cheap to build. The disadvantage is that it would not capture any of the methane to be used for heat or fuel. How to make it work in freezing weather would also pose problems.
Of course, making pools, fountains and tanks to clean the water of methane, does not really address the problem of why the methane is in the water in the first place, namely, the fracking going on in the area.
I have no experience with methane, or contaminated water. And after seeing the documentaries, I do think I am very fortunate in this regard. The point being, I don't speak from any experience. This idea is just a thought that I hope is useful.
If you know of any similar devices that have already been built, please leave a comment as to what the result was and your experience, if any.
I watch so many documentaries, I can't find the specific one that I saw. However, links to some other excellent documentaries and talks on fracking are below. They are highly recommended.
The Very Smart Andrew Nikiforuk Speaking On Fracking
Fracked! Jessica Ernst vs. Encana