Wednesday, September 20, 2017

The Possible Impacts of “Fracking” Drilling Methods on Water Supplies

There are various ways dangerous chemicals can find their way into our water supplies. Whole house water filtration systems are an easy and affordable way to remove some of these chemicals. The following is just one example of one industry’s impact on water quality.

Currently there is a vast reserve of natural gas locked away in deep rock beneath Pennsylvania, New York, Ohio, and West Virginia. Accessing this natural gas involves a controversial drilling process called hydraulic fracturing or ‘fracking’. Millions of gallons of water that have been brewed with toxic chemicals are blasted into the rock. Many fear this method pollutes water above and below ground and could cause depletion of aquifers.

This particular region is known as the Marcellus Shale. As gas drillers are swarming to this location and others around the country, the EPA is undertaking a $1.9 million study of the controversial fracking technique, which is currently exempt from federal regulation. All of this comes at the foot of a nation recovering from the shock of the recent Gulf environmental disaster. Conservation groups are critically pointing to the Gulf oil spill as a loss of credibility in the drilling industry. They are requesting that the rapidly expanding shale drilling process be more closely scrutinized.

Many are hoping for the passing of the FRAC act. It will repeal the previous exemption and require EPA regulation of fracking procedures based on the federal Safe Drinking Water Act. The EPA hearings have been focusing on issues raised due to drilling in the Barnett Shale of Texas, as well as in Colorado and Wyoming. There is also current drilling being done in the Haynesville Shale in northern Louisiana, the Fayetteville Shale in northern Arkansas, and the Woodford Shale in southern Oklahoma.

More than 13,000 wells have been drilled in the Barnett Shale within the last decade. There have been issues about the cancer causing chemical benzene in the air above gas fields. This has resulted in more testing by environmental regulators and has brought about criticism of the state’s safeguards. There are several residents in Colorado claiming that gas drilling has spoiled their water wells.

The Marcellus Shale is ten times the size of the Barnett. The Pennsylvania drilling rush is only two years old and several environmental issues have spewed forth. These include methane leaks contaminating private water wells, major spillage of fracking chemicals above ground, and fish killed in a local creek. Last month a well blowout sprayed natural gas and fracking chemicals out of the ground for sixteen hours. This fear of polluting the water supply is so high that a major watershed of the Delaware River, which supplies water to 17 million people, is off limits to drilling at the moment.

The drilling industry contends that fracking chemicals, some of which are suspected human carcinogens, cannot contaminate wells, drinking water, and aquifers once they are blasted deeply underground. Hydraulic fracturing uses an average of 4 million gallons of water per site. Some of this water remains in the wells underground and what comes back up is full of chemicals and could even be radioactive because of exposure to radon underground. It’s stored in open pits until it’s transported to treatment plants or underground injection wells.

In Dimock, PA a Houston based corporation has repeatedly been penalized for contaminating 14 water wells with methane and for several spills of diesel and chemical additives. One of these spills has already contaminated a wetland and killed wildlife.

The possibility of harmful chemicals entering our drinking water supplies cannot be ignored. Find out if a whole house water filter will help protect your water by installing a <a href=>whole house water filtration system</a>. has several to choose from as well as other water filters and air purifiers that are effective at removing certain contaminants from both tap and well water.