how does fracking contaminate groundwater

How Does Fracking Contaminate Groundwater & a lot more

In Fracking, Summer planning by Maz

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What is Shale and how is it related to fracking?

Shale is a mud that turned into a hard rock. Hydraulic fracturing which is also know as Fracking. There’s two ways of saying it. One says its a good thinking but many of us are saying it is not a good thing. Why it is not a good thing is mentioned in many of the videos that you would come across on the streaming sites and the news articles. Approximately a mile in under the ground there is this rock which is what the companies are after to extract oil and gas from there.

The process that is used  to extract this oil and gas is the big concern as it involves drilling deep underground.

What exactly is “produced water” in the fracking process?

Produced water is the water that comes out after the fracking process. It is a cause of concern to get these large quantities of produced water to be treated. The enormous cost of the treatment makes it an issue for the companies to get it treated especially if the budgets. One more issue is that the produced water is more dangerous to us because it can contain, chemicals, dangerous metals, methane, Salt water and even the materials that could be radio active.

Treating this water is not an easy task. There are dangers of negligence and accidents. In such cases the local community can be the victim and can affect the health and safety of the people. Companies such as OMV explains the process of produced water very well and how they take care of this issue.

Issues and cases around the activities that has affected us

There has been cases where the companies have dumped the waste in to the landfill while indirectly affects us as humans. The water that comes from the underground gets polluted as the pollutants reach that level.

How many gallons of chemicals are used in fracking.

The Quantity of chemicals used are based on the percentage. It is often shown as 98% of water 1.5 sand particles and around .5% of chemicals. The Fluid (i.e. Slick water) is used to fracture the rock further more.

 

As per the Dr Tony Ingraffea on his interview on RT news

On asking this question: What appears to be causing this earth quakes?

There are 2 distinct impacts resulting from fracking in shale for gas or oil that are causing-  Industry induced seismicity 1) direct impact- Fracking itself (that is the actual action of stimulating a gas or oil well in the shale formation has been confirmed as causing industry induced seismicity.) It’s not as well know as Its not as well studied. 

2) The indirect impact is the result of the production of large quantities of fluid waste from the fracking process. That fluid waste is transported to what is known as waste wells class 2 waste injection wells. 

 

Economic disadvantages of fracking

There are long term disadvantages for sure. This is very well understood when ground collapse takes place during the earthquake. There is more chances of earthquakes affecting due to the process of fracturing the shale and inserting  liquid which contains more of water, sand and chemicals. Although the chemicals are not so much. The quantity of these chemicals adds up with multiple fracking facilities. So still one side shows the advantages and the other as disadvantages. The one with advantages do not consider the other side and vice versa.

Impacts of Fracking accidents

The accidents can cause a huge set back to the entire economy. It’s not about the small scale accidents.  There are many fracking sites in the US especially that have had accidents. It can really impact the population in general also if the country is small. Nevertheless, it has negatively affected the environment. If the health of the locals are not going to remain good and can affect the younger generation in the long run then a temporary job availability for many is of not use.

How much water is recovered from fracking

Around 15  to 50% of water is recovered from Fracking.

What chemicals are used in fracking ?

In the UK the companies have to follow the guidelines set by the authority that overlooks and regulates the industry.  Chemicals in general differ such as Hydrochloric  acid, Benzene, Lead, Methane gas, alcohol etc,. There’s a variety of chemicals in one explainers it is mentioned as around 700 types. Basically this makes it unknown for that people what actually does it contain.

Pros and cons of Fracking

Pros of Fracking mentioned is that it reduces overall cost of energy as we advance in our technological evolution in the coming years. It can reduce the Greenhouse gas emissions to a great extent as compared to burning coal. Pros mentioned are also that it has been  going on for years and now its much more care taken as compared to earlier.

How does fracking contaminate groundwater?

While the process is on there are accidents that lead to contamination of water source.

  • Methane gas leak
  • lake water  and river water contamination due to leak.
  • Underground aquifers contaminate due to unknown leakage
  • Earthquakes cause cracks and leads to further leakage (cracked pipes steel or cement)
  • Accidents on site
  • Trucks carrying contaminated water lead to spillage

The question arises here is – Are the salt water lakes that are popping up in different parts of the world and the water going pink or red in colour directly related to this process. Well, this is a hypothesis which needs a further research. It does have a point!

Initiating contamination

Unknown chemical leakages could happen. Natural disasters are also an event that can affect the process. Although there are people that mention about earthquakes being related to it as we read earlier in this article from the words of Dr Tony.  We all know that Certain countries do not have control over companies that are huge multinationals. Especially due amount of corruption in the entire system. This is one reason for good amount of the number of countries that lack proper standards to reducing their carbon footprints too.

There is always a well being associated with what we do as humans. However, the same as hunting an animal because of its high population to get its bones of fur etc,. The best examples of this process is a hunting animals to the level of extinction. The macro effect of the actions are not visible often when every one is running to get the benefit of what is producing more money for them. One country would blame other and the chain goes on.

Did you know?

In the US there is EPA (Environment Protection Agency). In the UK we have Environment Agency and the companies have to follow the regulations who are into fracking.

HSE’s role is to ensure that operators of shale gas activities are adequately controlling risks to the health and safety of people, whether workers, contractors or members of the public.

(http://www.hse.gov.uk/shale-gas/about.htm)

The companies we may have heard of that are in either the news of on some videos are as follows:

  • IGAS
  • INEOS
  • Cuadrilla
  • Horse Hill developments
  • Angus Energy
  • UKOG

Countries across the globe do not have a direct say, reasons are that many people do not know what this process is and how it works. Many times its too late to take that action.

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