As oil and gas production in North America keeps rising, turning the country into the largest energy producer in the world, the industry seeks more opportunities to optimize and reduce its water use. The technique known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, may have secured U.S. energy independence but it leaves companies with a major problem: treatment, disposal and reuse of fracking wastewater.

Public pressure and regulatory measures are driving the North American fracking wastewater treatment market forward, according to a new report by BCC Research. The report estimates that between 2013 and 2018 the total value of the North American market for treatment of fracking wastewater from oil and gas wells combined will reach $350 million, up on the $216 million recorded at the start of the period. This means that the market is projected to grow at a compound annual rate of more than 10 percent, making North America the biggest market for fracking wastewater treatment globally.

Taken separately, the market for treating wastewater from gas wells is expected to grow at a rate of 9.7 percent through 2018, from $156 million in 2013 to $248 million, whereas treating wastewater from oil-producing wells will reach $102 million in 2018, up on $60 million last year. This suggests a compound annual growth rate of 11.2 percent, the report said.