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A two-year study examined the water in a stream not far from a fracking location. The treatment plant was the Josephine Brine Treatment Facility on Blacklick Creek.
The findings were not flattering.
"Their analyses, made on water samples collected repeatedly over the course of two years, were even more concerning than we’d feared," Smithsonian reported. "They found high concentrations of the element radium, a highly radioactive substance. The concentrations were roughly 200 times higher than background levels. In addition, amounts of chloride and bromide in the water were two to ten times greater than normal."
Avner Vengosh, an earth scientist from Duke, did not beat around the bush: “Even if, today, you completely stopped disposal of the wastewater, there’s enough contamination built up that you’d still end up with a place that the U.S. would consider a radioactive waste site.”
Federal standards for cleaning up fracking wastewater do not exist. The EPA says: "No comprehensive set of national standards exists at this time for the disposal of wastewater discharged from natural gas extraction activities. As a result, some shale gas wastewater is transported to treatment plants (publicly owned treatment works or private centralized waste treatment facilities, many of which are not properly equipped to treat this type of wastewater."
It is not impossible to treat fracking wastewater, but wastewater plants may not be ready yet. As one environmental group, the Catskill Mountainkeeper, put it: "Theoretically, this toxic cocktail [of wastewater] could be treated at treatment facilities assuming these plants were properly equipped to remove these chemicals and radioactivity, however, there are few if any plants that currently have the technology to do this."
Vengosh notes that there are better methods of treating fracking wastewater (he points to the plants operated by Eureka Resources as a model for adequately removing radioactivity), but these are more expensive to operate. But currently, without the push of federal regulations, companies looking to dispose of waste water have no incentive to pay for this type of solution.
Water used for drilling and making up frac fluids can come from several sources: surface water bodies, groundwater, municipal potable water supplies, or reused water from some other water source (most commonly this is flowback water from a previously fractured well)
A large portion of the Marcellus Shale underlies the Susquehanna River basin watershed. Any water usage within the watershed is subject to oversight by the SRBC. Hoffman (2010) notes, that as of January 2010, the SRBC had data for 131 wells. The total volume of water withdrawn through that date is 262 million gallons, with 45% coming from public water supplies and the other 55% coming from surface water sources. The average total volume of fluid used per well is 2.7 million gallons, with 2.2 million gallons of that coming from freshwater sources and 0.5 million gallons coming from recycled flowback water
Not all of the injected frac fluid returns to the surface. GWPC and ALL (2009) report that from 30% to 70% of the original frac fluid volume returns as flowback. However, anecdotal reports from Marcellus operators suggest that the actual percentage is at or below the lower end of that range. The rest of the water remains in pores within the formation. The SRBC data set described in the previous section shows that about 13.5% of the injected frac fluid is recovered (Hoffman 2010).
Operators must manage the flowback and produced water in a cost-effective manner that complies with state regulatory requirements. The primary options are:
Inject underground through a disposal well (onsite or offsite), Discharge to a nearby surface water body, Haul to a municipal wastewater treatment plant (often referred to as a publicly owned treatment works or POTW), Haul to a commercial industrial wastewater treatment facility, and Reuse for a future frac job either with or without treatment.
Chapter 3 describes each of these different processes in more detail and identifies those options that are actually being used by gas operators in the Marcellus Shale region
In a project focused on the Powder River Basin of the Rocky Mountain region, NETL is engaged in research to evaluate subsurface drip irrigation as a potential beneficial use for coalbed methane produced waters. This could provide a low-cost means to dispose of produced water while increasing crop production and improving relationships between natural gas operators and ranchers
originally posted by: DisIllusioned PatRiot
Why does everybody act like this is something new? Fracking has been going on since the 30s its just now its in new areas.
As much as it sucks that it pollutes the land its almost a lesser of the two evils kind of thing.
I live in West Virginia where there is fracking going on and even illegal dumping from companies coming over from Ohio and Pennsylvania so I've seen some of the fish die offs and the effects on the streams. But that isn't a problem with the fracking its a problem with the people and the regulations.
What needs to be done is independent testing on the areas. Not testing done by the companies or the people in the area. Like with natural gas getting in peoples wells. This part of the country is on top of one of the biggest natural gas deposits in the world. Anytime you dig a hole in the ground you're going to hit some. Our house has had the same well since the 40s and there's always been gas in it. Most people that have that problem know but now they have an opportunity to get paid so they're taking it even going as far as pumping propane into their water lines the videoing the burning water so o cell again its people thats the problem.
No matter how you feel about its what we have until sustainable energy is ready and it still.pollutes a whole lot less then shipping it across the ocean.
originally posted by: Asktheanimals
Collect fracking water and start serving it to the energy company execs in their tea and coffee.
Then we'll see just how safe they think it is.