Published On: Fri, Dec 30th, 2011

Wyoming groundwater polluted by hydrofracturing causing public hazard

Wyoming groundwater

polluted by

hydrofracturing

causing public hazard

Julian Georgiou, Healingtalks Contributing Writer

(Healingtalks)  Highly toxic compounds, associated with “fracking chemicals” had recently been detected  by the EPA in local Wyoming groundwaters.  Regulations are promised to further protect the public, but perhaps not just stricter rules but an entirely different national and international energy policy is needed.

What is fracking all about

Hydraulic fracturing” is a natural gas drilling process for pumping presurised water, sand and chemicals underground in order to open the flow of oil or gas to the surface (The Guardian). The chemical mixture is often made up of:

    • Sodium Chloride
    •  Ethylene Glycol
    •  Borate Salts
    •  Sodium Potassium Carbonate
    •  Guar Gum
    • Isopropanol (Barnett Shale)

Fracking companies claim that these toxic chemicals are at such low dilutions (0.5%) as to cause no real environmental or health threat. However a millions gallons of water containing half a percent adds up to a huge amount of pollution. Other impacts are to deplete local water resources and to industrialize a rural region, often ruining tourist industries and the feel of living in the country.

The cause and xtent of the fracking problem

Anyone who resides near a natural gas drilling area can tell you fracking threatens and often does pollute groundwater. Corrupt federal politicians, however, allowed hydraulic fracturing to be exempted from the so-called “Safe” Drinking Water Act in 2005, paving the way for the largest gas drilling boom in domestic history (Fox, 2011). The exemption in that bill, known as the “Halliburton Loophole”, allows fracking companies to inject highly toxic chemicals under the ground in huge quantities and not report it to the EPA (Fox, 2011).

According to Prof Tony Ingraffea from Cornell University, Pennsilvania is 3 years into a 30 year full scale plan, with 2000 wells currently and plans to build another 5000 per year for the next 30 years. Massive fracking has thus led to thousands of reported cases of water contamination, with the EPA’s latest findings being but one confirmation.

EPA’s confirmation

On December 7, 2011  the EPA released this report which for the first time put the agency on record as  definitively finding that fracking causes severe water pollution.

The report identified fracking as the chief source of poisons in local groundwater, including a major carcinogen, benzene, in  the central Wyoming community (Green, 2011).

Health officials last year advised locals not to drink their water found low levels hydrocarbons were found in their wells (The Guardian). At the same time the aquifer or water reservoirs will never be cleaned. The pollution there, for the foreseeable future, appears permanent (Fox, 2011).

Moving more towards renewable energy

This points out  we to need to move more toward  renewable energy sources and to stop using fossil fuels that can harm the environment and ourselves. According to The National Resources Defence Council (NRDC), we have plenty of other energy resources for a sustainable future:

  • Wind Energy – In America alone, wind generates enough electricity to power more than 10 million homes, creates steady income for investors and landowners, and helps support over 100,000 manufacturing and ongoing operations and maintenance jobs (NRDC).
  • Solar Energy - By the end of the decade, solar energy could become cheaper than conventional electricity in many parts of the US. The industry currently creates about 125,000 American jobs (NRDC).
  • Biogas Energy – In 2010, there were about 160 operational biogas recovery systems on American commercial livestock farms, which produced enough electricity to power the equivalent of 41,000 homes. This gas mixture can be used to generate heat, hot water or electricity, and the leftover digested manure can be used as fertilizer, bedding, mulch and potting soil (NRDC).
  • Geothermal – Geothermal energy comes from reservoirs of steam and hot water beneath the earth’s surface. It is among the least explored renewable energies in the United States. In 2010, geothermal energy produced just over 3,000 megawatts of energy (NRDC).

In short, it is far better focus on energy solutions that will not threaten us or our environment.

Related Articles

Fracking hell: the untold story

 

References

 Keywords

Hydraulic fracking, fracking chemicals, fracking companies, gas drilling,, hydraulic fracturing, what is hydrofracking, natural gas drilling, fracking shale, fracking Pennsylvania, alternative energy resources, alternative renewable energy sources, chemicals in water, safe drinking water, causes of pollution in water, contaminated water, polluted water, groundwater contamination

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