More oil and gas drillers turn to water recycling for hydraulic fracturing

MIDLAND, Texas - When a drought hit Texas a few years ago, the lack of water threatened the oil boom that blossomed from hydraulic fracturing, a method of drilling that relies on large amounts of high-pressure water.

But now drillers have found a way to get by with much less water: They recycle it.

Many drillers once considered recycling an unproven idea. These days, it's helping them to use less freshwater and dispose of less wastewater. In one method, the water is statically charged to allow waste particles to separate. The waste then goes to a landfill, and most of the water can be used again.

The change is happening so swiftly that regulators are racing to keep up. Some are taking steps to make it easier for drillers to recycle.

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