Hazardous Hydrofracking in America - by Stephen Lendman
Poisoning America's water.
Hydraulic fracking involves using pressurized fluids to fracture rock layers to release oil, gas, coal seam gas, or other substances.
Earthworks says the process provides easier access to deposits and lets oil or gas "travel more easily from the rock pores," where it's trapped, "to the production well."
Fractures are created by pumping mixtures of water, proppants (sand or ceramic beads) and chemicals into rock or coal formations.
"Acidizing involves pumping acid (usually hydrochloric acid) into the formation." It dissolves rock so pores open for easier flows. Fracking and acidizing are often done together. Studies show from 20 - 40% of fracking fluids remain underground.
Fracking fluids contain hazardous toxic chemicals, known to cause cancer and other diseases. They include diesel fuel, containing benzene, ethylbenzene, toluene, xylene, naphthalene and other chemicals.
They also include polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, methanol, formaldehyde, ethylene glycol, glycol ethers, hydrochloric acid, and sodium hydroxide.
Small amounts of benzene alone can contaminate millions of gallons of groundwater used for human consumption. According to the EPA, 10 of 11 US coalbed methane (CBM) basins are located at least partially in areas of underground sources of drinking water (USDW).
EPA also determined that nine or more harmful to human health fracking chemicals are used in normal operations. "These chemicals may be injected (in) concentrations anywhere from 4 to almost 13,000 times" above acceptable amounts.
According to hydrodynamics expert John Bredehoeft :
"At greatest risk of contamination are the coalbed aquifers currently used as sources of drinking water."
"(C)ontamination associated with hydrofracturing (can) threaten the usefulness of aquifers for future use."
At issue also is obtaining information on specific fracking chemicals used. According to the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), oil and gas companies won't release what they call "proprietary information."
Current regulations exempt oil and gas drilling from major environmental laws, including the Safe Drinking Water Act, Clean Air Act, and Clean Water Act.