Misconceptions

  • Drinking water gets contaminated.  This is not true because the chemicals used to drill through the shale do not leak into the surrounding ground.

  • When all of the gas is extracted the ground will become unstable.  This is not true because the shale formations that hold the gas are very deep in the ground.  Companies also test the formations before extracting because they have to build their operation on the formation and it is a lot of risk to build it on a weak or shallow shale formation

  • Toxic waste used during the drilling process is not disposed of correctly and contaminates the top soil.  This is not true because the contaminants are stored in large holding tanks onsite and are carried away once full to water treatment plants that are approved to treat the used water. Also much of the fluid is recycled in other wells.

  • Fracking needs to be regulated.  Truth is it already is.  There are already limits on how much used contaminants can be stored on site and the wells are required to be sealed with concrete to prevent any seepage into the groundwater.

     

8 thoughts on “Misconceptions

  1. Water is an imperative aspect of the fracking process. About 1.2 to 3.5 million gallons of water is initially used per fracking well. The fluid used has to be kept under close surveillance to guarantee the chemicals do not get released into places where it isn’t supposed to be, such as the land and groundwater. However, the EPA has reported several cases where the contamination of ground water is directly related to the hydraulic fracturing process.
    In the late 1987, the United States Environmental Protection Agency published a report that indicated fracture fluid invasion into James Parson’s water well in Jackson County, West Virginia. The well, drilled by Kaiser Exploration and Mining Company, was found to have induced fractures that created a pathway to allow fracture fluid to contaminate the groundwater.
    A Duke University study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in 2011 examined methane in groundwater in Pennsylvania and New York states overlying the Marcellus Shale and the Utica Shale. In aquifers overlying the Marcellus and Utica shale formations of northeastern Pennsylvania and upstate New York, the study provided systematic evidence for methane contamination of drinking water associated with shale-gas extraction. In active gas-extraction areas (one or more gas wells within 1 km), average and maximum methane concentrations in drinking-water wells increased with proximity to the nearest gas well and were 19.2 and 64 mg CH4 L-1 (n = 26), a potential explosion hazard. The study also proved that the methane’s isotopic signatures and other geochemical indicators were consistent with it originating in the fracked deep shale formations, rather than any other source.
    A more recent example of this issue occurred in Pavilion, Wyoming where the groundwater has been contaminated due to the hydraulic fracturing that had previously taken place. A draft report released by the EPA on December 8, 2011 suggested that the ground water in the Pavillion, Wyoming, aquifer contains “compounds likely associated with gas production practices, including hydraulic fracturing”. This is just to mention few.
    In addition, about 30 to 40 percent of the fracking fluid used is never recoverd. Therefore, what happens to this water that stays underground? What will the impact be in 100 years? These are questions we don’t have answers to at the moment. I therefore do not agree with the fact that contamination of drinking water is a misconception.

  2. I definitely agree that the misconceptions you have here cover the large arguments by people who are not familiar with fracking operations. When I went to Pittsburgh alot of people asked me about fracking and most of them thought it would cause earthquakes in the area. They didn’t even know how or why earthquakes would occur but just thought this was a possibility. Many people are just misinformed and this information spreads so fast. A better job needs to be done by the fracking companies to get information readily out into the communities near where they work.

  3. I think you guys have some great stuff on your website, and in the misconceptions section in particular. While what most of what you say is true, the possibilities of accidents causing problems is very large (e.g. hazardous materials leaking through an impermeable layer and contaminating drinking waters). Also, while some practices are probably being done properly right now — toxic chemical disposal, reuse of wastewater — there needs to be more regulation, both by states and the federal government. Most importantly, this regulation needs to be based on sound science not influenced by pro-industry motives.

  4. You guys make a lot of good points about misconceptions but it’s important to take accidents into consideration. Saying that the liquids don’t get into groundwater is not realistic because there is always the off chance that something could go wrong in management regardless of how many regulations are in place. Also, it would further prove your point to go into more depth about the treatment process of the contaminated water. I’m not sure I fully understand what you mean by the fluid being recycled in other wells, because to me that just means it has more time to sit in one location with the possibility of leaking if not managed properly.

  5. Your arguments against the “misconceptions” are incomplete. It sounds great to say that the chemicals won’t leach into the ground and that the ground will remain stable after blasting it apart to release the gas. However, how can you possibly be sure that this is so? This is a relatively new method of extraction and really needs more research before you can definitively say any of those things. It just seems fundamentally wrong to say that disrupting the shale formations is safe because the formations are “very deep in the ground?” In addition, fracking companies are currently protected from releasing the chemicals and additives that they put in the water because they are considered trade secrets or proprietary. This just scares me because if there are ever problems with leaching into water, it would be nice to know what the potential contaminates are. Finally, even if this isn’t toxic or dangerous, it is an awful use of water. Water is soon to be one of our most precious resources, and fracking uses millions of gallons of fresh water to operate which is in no way sustainable or good for our future.

  6. These are solid points defending the highly criticized practice of fracking. However some of the points could use a little more backbone to support your argument. For instance when you say “Drinking water gets contaminated. This is not true because the chemicals used to drill through the shale do not leak into the surrounding ground.” maybe explain how or why the the chemicals do not leak into the surrounding ground. Is this a natural occurrence or a man made effort? Overall good website though aside from a not quite logical order of sections. Good argument.

  7. Weather these points are true or not, I am having a hard time buying your argument. The points above don’t seem to be very well backed up. It would be beneficial to this website to state where your reasons came from in the text. Without a concession along the lines of, “even though accidents occur, environmental safety is a priority” the page seems a bit biased. I do look forward to seeing some scientific data to back up these claims.

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