Exploding kitchen sinks and contaminated drinking water, that is what happens when you get fracked by the natural gas industry.

I just saw Gasland II by Josh Fox. The showing was hosted by Ron Reed of Pacificad, Spokane, WA.  It is the muckraking expose’ of the petroleum industry’s use of fracking to obtain natural gas from the earth and leaving scraped landscapes, contaminated aquifers, and destroyed communities. Fracking has even caused earthquakes and has put homes at the risk of  exploding.

Fracking

Fracking, as you have probably heard, is the practice of injecting water and chemicals into wells to force the natural gas out of the gas bearing shale.  It is called fracking because it fractures the shale to releases the natural gas. 

Water Contamination from Fracking

Because fracking is exempt from the Safe Drinking Water Act, the gas industry does not have to list the specific chemicals that they use on a particular site.  However, it is commonly know that Hydrochloric Acid, Glutaraldehyde, Petroleum Distillate, Triethanolamine Zirconate, Ethylene Glycol, Polyacrylamide, Copolymer of Acrylamide, and Sodium Acrylate are chemicals use in hydraulic fracturing.  Some of these are known carcinogens.

The problem is not just the chemicals used in the fracking, but also toxic chemicals in the oil shales that are fracked. Benzene, xylene, toluene and similar chemicals are part the toxic soup that makes up crude oil found in the shales.  The crude oil may often not be in large enough deposits to be commercially viable, but it does not take much to further contaminate the water that is forced into the shale.  After the shale is fracked, the water has to go somewhere.  While some of it flows to the surface of a site and may or may not be treated, much of it obviously percolates downward and ends up in the aquifer.

Fire and Risk of Explosions

Hard to believe? Remember, we are talking about natural gas.  When it is released from shale by fracking, not all of the gas is captured at the well head.  It comes out of he ground through domestic and municipal wells and at foundations of homes.  Yes, it is true.  People in communities who have been victimized by fracking can often light their garden hoses and kitchen water taps on fire. If the natural gas fills a room in the presence of a spark or open flame, they are at risk of having their home explode.

 

Earth Quakes

Fracking also causes earth quakes.  Most of them are small, but some have been large enough to crack concrete walls in Arkansas high schools and elsewhere.  How does fracking cause earth quakes. Shale is fracked, the space in the ground that was occupied by natural gas becomes a void, the bedrock looses its structure, the ground then settles.  When it does quickly, the earth quakes.

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