The practice of fracking presents surprising good news.

    Big advancements in wastewater treatment could be coming from an unexpected source: the oil and gas industry.

   The growth of fracking brings with it a heavy demand for water, and that's straining water supplies, often in drought-prone areas. The conflict over water has fueled adoption of new water reuse and recycling techniques, making the fracking market a valuable new proving ground for these technologies – which could later be used in other industries.

   The fact that water treatment companies can find willing customers, even just to test their products in industrial settings, is significant. Many cleantech ventures have failed because industrial customers, such as electric utilities, are slow to adopt new technologies in the absence of regulatory pressure. One practice that's advancing thanks to the oil and gas industry is the use of distributed water treatment facilities that can be trucked from site to site.     
  There are several treatment approaches to increasing recycling, including chemical processes, and what's most important is that the more those get used or scaled up, the cheaper they become for other industries. 

    Nevertheless it is to say that the actual volume of water recycling happening in fracking fields is relatively low, and one clear winning technology – one that can enable a large amount of water reuse economically – has yet to emerge.

Costanza Gabbrielli