Saturday, February 28, 2015

Fracking: What can it lead to?

First off, what is fracking? It is a High-volume horizontal hydraulic fracturing, commonly referred to as “fracking,” is a method of oil and gas extraction that injects millions of gallons of water laced with toxic chemicals and sand at high pressure deep underground, pivoting horizontally for up to one mile, to break apart shale rock formations.  

According to studies from Cornell University, they found that wastewater from hydraulic fracturing could result in a greater level of soil pollution. According to the study, "These particles then bind pollutants to metals, which means that the pollutants could cause more damage to wildlife and human health in the event of a spill."  

These spills from fracking can lead to not only affecting the area in which the fracking occurred, but also farm land. At every step of the fracking process, from injection and recovery to storage and transport, there is the potential for contamination of water through underground fissures, spills, leaks and blowouts to cause issues to the way food is watered, or food being contaminated directly. 

Fracking wastewater can contain radioactive materials, including strontium, uranium and radon. Heavy metals such as lead, mercury, cadmium, chromium, barium and arsenic have been found in soils near gas sites. If contamination occurs on land that is certified organic, that land can be taken out of organic production for at least three years, and the farmer will lose that income.

The new study looked at the effects of flowback fluid, finding that as the water surges back up to the surface, it releases large amounts of natural gas from the rock. The water also results in soil particles being loosened. Pollutants are then able to bind themselves to these colloids, enabling them to leach out and pollute soil and water in the area.

Tessa Millhollin

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