Fracking Water Contamination Confirmed

There are many problems with fracking for natural gas. One of the main ones is the destruction of clean water resources. Although gas companies and paid supporters sometime deny it, fracking water contamination has indeed been confirmed.

When holes are drilled for fracking, they are supposed to go well below water sources. However …

Energy companies are fracking for oil and gas at far shallower depths than widely believed, sometimes through underground sources of drinking water, according to research released … by Stanford University scientists.

Common sense would dictate that oil companies not be allowed to drill into drinkable water. But the “Halliburton Loophole”, which is part of the 2005 Energy Policy Act, allows this since it exempts them from part of the Safe Drinking Water act!?

Despite continued denials from the oil and gas companies, there is firm evidence from the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that fracking is polluting water supplies.

In 2013 a study published in the journal Endocrinology, has found elevated endocrine-disrupting chemicals in water near fracking sites.? These are most likely from the chemicals used in the fracking process, many of which have been kept secret under the guise of being proprietary.

According to the AP1 :

  • Pennsylvania has confirmed 106 water well contaminations since 2005
  • West Virginia had 122 complaints with 4 forcing drillers to take corrective action
  • Ohio had 190 complaints, and 6 confirmed contamination, but none related to drilling, but with 14 still under investigation
  • Texas had over 2000 complaints, but the Railroad Commission of Texas (that oversees oil drilling) couldn’t confirm any that were drilling related!
Water for Fracking

Tanker trucks for hauling water and fracking fluids line up near a natural gas flare in Williston, N.D. . (Charles Rex Arbogast / AP)

However, another study provides evidence “that activities associated with natural gas development can and do contaminate groundwater, and the public isn?t getting the comprehensive information it needs to understand and evaluate the risks. ”

So there are confirmed risks due to the fracking process to produce natural gas. But there are other options for energy that can supplement and replace natural gas that do not have these risks. Bio-fuels derived from bio-mass and sewage are viable alternatives that are safe and don’t entail a huge risk to children and future generations.

1 “4 States Confirm Water Pollution Drilling”, Kevin Begos, AP Jan 5, 2014

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I am an environmental journalist and have written on the national parks and Alaska.

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