Fracking: Water Quality and Hydraulic Fracturing

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Our Future 3

REFERENCE:

www.epa.gov www.wikipedia.com Documentary: “GASLAND” Josh Fox 2010

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Hydraulic fracturing is the propagation of fractures in a rock layer caused by the presence of a pressurized fluid. (wiki 2011). This occurs naturally in nature, but the Hydraulic fracturing that I will speak of in this paper is a process being used by gas companies nationwide. Fracking is currently regulated by the EPA under the clean water act of 2005 (EPA.gov). However, this only partially governs the methods of injecting fluids and the retrieval of such fluids into the earth. It does not govern the types of chemicals that are being allowed to be used, or how much fresh water is wasted (millions of gallons per “Frack job”) and it does not carry stiff enough penalties for spills or irreversible damage to community’s water supplies.
For those of you, who are unfamiliar with this practice, allow me to paint a picture for you. Big gas corporations have researched and found giant fields of natural gas in a layer of rock eight thousand feet deep in the earth’s crust known as the Marcellus shale line, and it is in four different regions in the U.S. spread over thirty states. Historically gas companies would drill for their gas, but in recent history have developed a process of Hydraulic Fracturing which at one job can use one million gallons of fresh water, and over nine hundred chemicals, to include Benzene and various heavy metals (Gasland). Once this mixture is forced eight thousand feet into the earth’s crust it destroys the shale and releases the natural gas. It is a fact that the companies can only recover forty percent of the fluid that is sent into the below. The rest is absorbed by the porous Marcellus shale. It is now being learned that this process is destroying ecosystems and making fresh water tables completely unusable.
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