Fracking Pollution And Its Impact On the Environment
Fracking is the extraction of oil and gas using unconventional means. We have extracted energy from all possible sources using all possible means. Consequently, fracking has become an important component of our efforts to extract oil and gas.
Fossil fuel deposits are fast depleting, and that is the driving force behind the growth of fracking. While fossil fuels can be extracted relatively easily, fracking leads to the massive exploitation of resources that are hard to extract.
What exactly is fracking?
Fracking is the controversial method of extracting oil and gas from shale rock. Fracking pollution impacts human societies in many ways. More immediate effects are being felt at the sites where the oil extraction takes place.
Should people be really concerned about the environmental impacts of fracking pollution?
Yes. Fracking is done using a toxic fluid. Nobody knows the exact composition of this fracking fluid. Companies that use the fracking fluid have always refused to disclose its content, claiming that it comes within the purview of proprietary information. However, samples obtained from fracking sites suggest that the chemical fluid contains boric acids, formaldehyde, citric acids, and acetic acids among numerous other contaminants. In addition, companies have also been caught mixing diesel fuel with fracking fluid in spite of this being illegal.
Fracking pollution contaminates several million gallons of priceless freshwater
Each fracking well consumes 2-5 million gallons of fresh water obtained from local sources. The toxic chemicals and contaminants present in the fluid will permanently contaminate this water. Almost 50 percent of this water will return to the surface and then it is stored in large metal containers until it is injected into oil and gas waste wells.
Fracking pollution causes numerous environmental problems
Fracking can lead to the contamination of soil and water. Drilling in environmentally sensitive areas, habitat fragmentation, and chemical contamination in and around storage tanks are other problems associated with fracking.
In the United Kingdom alone, fracking requires the drilling of numerous wells. This will severely impact the ground water resources. In addition, it will not be compatible with the carbon emission targets set by the UK.
Water shortage can make fracking totally impractical. Fracking is not practical in several parts of the UK because of the scarcity of ground water resources. In areas where it is possible, fracking pollution has a negative impact on water resources. However, this has not prevented the water industry from working with fracking companies.
When fracking is done for obtaining shale gas, it increases the risk of water shortage and may also lead to the contamination of drinking supplies with harmful chemicals.
Fracking produces highly toxic radioactive waste in huge quantities. Unfortunately, the existing treatment plants do not have enough capacity to properly treat this waste. In any case, these treatment plants are incapable of removing all the contaminants. This, when combined with the spilling and dumping, leads to further contamination of land and ground water.