Fracking can screw up our water supplies – and it goes beyond contamination by fracking chemicals.
Hydraulic fracturing or hydrofracturing, commonly referred to as fracking, is used to gain access to reserves of oil and natural gas.
Fracking involves the injection of fluids, chemicals and sand under high pressure to fracture rock or coal seams to access the fossil fuel bounty they contain or is trapped underneath.
It’s becoming clearer that fracking is environmentally destructive; exposing the claim that natural gas is “green” to be just greenwashing.
Image credit: Mikenorton
Back in 2010, I mentioned a case of water wells in a township in Pennsylvania where toxic chemicals had been detected – chemicals used in fracking. As fracking for gas and oil increases, so too do the number of incidents whereby groundwater is contaminated; not just by chemicals, but also by methane in levels high enough that it can be ignited at household water taps in some instances.
There’s another major impact fracking has on water supplies – the use of local groundwater. Townships in Texas are running out of the precious stuff to water crops and supply households it seems; and fracking operations the areas are thought to be a major culprit.
The Guardian reports in one county, fracking accounts for up to 25% of water use. The residential wells in the town of another county have run dry.
It’s an ill wind that blows nobody any good of course – some landowners in these counties are making a motza from selling water from their deeply-sunk wells to oil companies.
However, once that water is gone – it’s gone; not just for them but those around them. Even if rain should fall, it can take a very long time for aquifers to recharge. It will also be a very long time before the communities these water entrepreneurs live in forget about what deprived them of their own supply.
Fracking isn’t just ripping apart the rock beneath the landscape, it’s ripping apart communities.
Water contamination, fugitive emissions, water consumption, sand mining and heck, even earthquakes – there’s not a lot of good environmentally speaking in fracking; nor in the products that result. Yet, we continue – and with the price of oil and gas looking set to rise; it only makes environmentally catastrophic fossil fuel extraction processes such as fracking and tar sands even more lucrative.