Natural gas wells can produce large amounts of brine that flows back to the surface after well completion activities are finished. This salt water can be an excellent substitute for the solid salt that is laid down on roadways before anticipated snowfalls, or after snow hits the ground. The brine also contains other substances, though, and not all flow back will qualify as road treatment salt. The Department of Environmental Protection has specified what can be in the brine that qualifies for road use, and those limits are found in this agreement between the WV Department of Highways and the DEP.
Subsequent note October 5, 2012 While this blog posting is correct, it could benefit from some additional clarification offered by the DEP. The brine specifications were developed by the DEP to be used by the DOH in its bidding process, to let potential suppliers know of the quality specifications for brine sold to the State. The agreement should not be interpreted as a permit for road application of brine by private individuals, even if it meets these quality standards.