Hydraulic fracking began as an experiment in 1947 and became successful in 1950. It is now being used to extract oil and gas production. Hydraulic fracking involves pumping, water, chemical and proppant (usually sand) down a gas or oil well under high pressure to break open the channels (fractures) in the reservoir rock trapping the deposit. The sand proppant is designed to hold the fracture open to let the gas or oil out.
Fracking uses horizontal drilling which has been around for decades. The combination of the two processes of horizontal drilling and fracking have created the shale oil and gas boom of the U.S. According to the energy information administration, fracking accounts for about 60% of this year’s domestic oil production.
The new EPA report on hydraulic fracking is creating fears over the extraction of oil and gas from rock far below the earth’s surface. What the EPA found is that fracking can impact drinking water under certain circumstances.
These circumstances that the EPA found are:
- Water withdrawals for hydraulic fracturing in times of areas of limited or declining groundwater.
- Large spills during the handling of hydraulic fracking fluids and chemicals that reach groundwater resources.
- Injection of hydraulic fracturing fluids into wells that might not have integrity and allows gas or liquids to move into the ground water.
- Injection of hydraulic fracturing directly in groundwater.
- Discharge of inadequately treated hydraulic fracturing wastewater to surface water
- Disposal or storage of hydraulic fracturing wastewater in unlined pits resulting in the contamination of groundwater resources.
Data gaps and uncertainties limit the EPA’s ability to fully assess the potential impact on drinking water resources locally or nationally.
American Structures does not build wastewater storage tanks for the fracking industry.
Hydraulic Fracturing for Oil and Gas: Impacts from the Hydraulic Fracturing Water Cycle on Drinking Water Resources in the United States (Final Report) | EPA’s Study of Hydraulic Fracturing for Oil and Gas and Its Potential Impact on Drinking Water Resources | US EPAcfpub.epa.gov