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First, the people who claimed that their "flammable tap water" started happening ONLY when they began fracking have not necessarily been honest. In the past, these same people reported that their water was flammable, many years prior to fracking ever occuring in Pennsylvania.
Take a look at some news sources that attempt to remove the bias, such as Science News
Newly fracked gas wells could also be intersecting with old, abandoned gas or oil wells, allowing methane from those sites to migrate. "We've punched holes in the ground in Pennsylvania for 150 years," Jackson says. Many old wells have not been shut down properly, he says. "You find ones that people plugged with a tree stump." In some places in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and elsewhere (especially those with existing coal beds), methane turned up in well water long before hydraulic fracturing became widespread.
Any place sitting on top of the Marcellus Shale has a chance for hydrocarbons to rise through layers of sediment related to the old wells that were drilled there. Remember that Pennsylvania was the "oil center of the world" in the late 1800's.
Could fracking play a part in methane increases due to the multitude of old wells that were drilled in Pennsylvania a long time ago? Possibly. Could fracking play a part in methane increases in homes in "new plays" located in North Dakota? Highly unlikely.
Second, when you frac 15k feet below the surface, you might fracture rock up to a half mile up or down (and I'm being generous). So if you're fracking horizontally, you'll induce fractures that can travel anywhere from 12.5k to 17.5k feet below the earth. You know where the LOWEST aquafer's are located? (and again, I'm being generous) Around 1000 ft below the surface.
Do you think frac operations use too much water? That's a legitimate concern.
Do you think frac operations could do better and treating and disposing waste water? That's a legitimate concern.
Do you think frac operations pump toxic chemicals below the ground? Then you should really check your fact sources.
Do you think frac operations have "secret chemicals" that they put in the water, and they won't tell us what they are? Then you should really check your fact sources. Go to any major service company's website (Halliburton, Schlumberger, etc) and search for "what's in frac water?"
Do you think frac operations cause natural gas to seep into aquifers? It's a concern, but you really need to check your fact sources, and take into account several factors before drawing conclusions.
I'd like to think that more people would have an idea of what is actually in these fluids. There is a lot of information out there. Don't say "BUT.. BUT... THE COMPANIES DON'T WANT YOU TO KNOW WHATS IN THEM!" because that's not necessarily the case.
According to this article ( http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-12-03/hazardous-air-pollutants-detected-near-fracking-sites.html ), they have found large amounts of dichloromethane in the air samples. It doesn't sound like they're being as honest as you state.
From your article, "The authors say the source of the chemicals is likely a mix of the raw gas that is vented from the wells and emissions from industrial equipment used during the gas production process." The gasses are from "all natural" gas from the ground or from exhaust from equipment (which are typically run on diesel or natural gas). This doesn't have anything to do with chemicals added to frac fluids. Having an issue with "industrialization" and air pollution relating to exhaust is one thing to be concerned about, but the discussion is about chemicals in frac fluids.
You can totally trust these companies to do these tests. They would never cut corners in the name of profits.
I'm currently the one who does the tests. I have no incentive, nor am I punished for reporting whether or not a fluid has certain chemicals in it.
If independent tests are showing benzene in the waste content and I'm to believe that everything you're saying is accurate, the problem is really that they have piss-poor quality control because they don't give a shit about anything other than short term profits.
I agree. But I think part of the quality process is making sure the waste water has some form of regulated chain of custody. It's unfortunate, but there are companies that buy waste water from the service companies and "dispose" of it by illegally dumping it.
I read somewhere that a lady was saying that some frac water spilled on her land, and now the grass won't grow. I got a safe hunch that it was salt water and not some magical toxic chemical.
We make a host of additives for frac fluids, like viscosifiers (the chemicals guar or xanthan gum), friction reducers like PHPA (the chemical partially hydroxylated polyacrylamide), and sand (the chemical silicon dioxide) or ceramic beads (typically bauxite based).
The items mentioned in the article make it sound like "they are adding benzene and barium to the fluids, and we had no idea that they do this!". I'll help you guys out. Barite (barium sulfate ore) is added to every oil well in the world as a weighting agent for the drilling mud. It's solubility in water is nil. Would water that is flushed down a well that has been drilled capable of picking up barium that has formed a filter cake on the walls of the bore? Sure, but it's also in EVERY WATER OR OIL MUD USED IN EVERY WELL IN THE WORLD.
Benzene in the frac fluid? Nobody adds benzene to frac fluid. Here is most likely how it got there: oil based drilling muds use diesel as a carrier fluid (if the drilling is done on land, not the case offshore). Diesel has 30% aromatic content (ie. benzene, toluene, xylene). IF the well was drilled with an oil mud AND the well was recently finished being drilled AND it was recently cleared out, then the first part of the "waste" frac fluid will probably contain benzene.
They don't care right? WRONG. They do on site testing to make sure the sample doesn't sheen or have any type of oil based fluids in the water. If it does, then the water has to be treated before being disposed (i.e. sewage, lakes, rivers, etc). So my question to the people testing these fluids: At what point did they test for benzene? Did the frac water come from a well that was drilled using diesel? Did the frac water come from a well using water based fluids? Were these random frac waste samples? What part of the country did these frac water samples come from? Did the frac water encounter aromatic hydrocarbons in the formation?
These things are needed to come to a conclusion as to where did these chemicals come from.
Well.... he does have a masters degree in Chemistry. That is "science-y" right?
There are only two things I hate in this world:
People who are intolerant of other people's cultures... and the Dutch.
It's easy to say if fracking pollutes water. Make the author of the study, the bosses of the drilling companies, the main owners of the banks who finance them and their families drink the water they guarantee as safe.
House the japanese government in the Fukushima district.
Then I'll trust them
So you're saying that you'll drink the fresh water that gets immediately pumped out of a sewage plant and into rivers? You've a brave person. How about I take a dump in a cup, clean it out with bleach, soap, and water, then pour a glass of water for you to drink. Or you can, ya know, just simply have it tested.
Or, you know, require water samples to be taken all around the area of the wells for at least a month before drilling begins, then take more samples periodically and compare.
That's pretty basic science.
They do this... constantly. Even if regulations don't demand it (for a good chunk of the rigs, anyways). Ever head of Nalco? The whole of the company specializes in water treatment... and their chemicals have been treated a good chunk of wastewater generated by fracking.