Hydraulic Fracturing and Water Contamination

Hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking, is a technique used to spur oil and natural gas production. The process has led to water contamination throughout the United States. In 2005 the oil and gas industry was given an exemption to the Safe Water Drinking Act. These hydraulic fracturing regulations are usually used to protect sources of our drinking water.

What is Hydraulic Fracturing?

Hydraulic fracturing involves injecting water, sand and chemicals into a deposit of oil or natural gas in order to allow the target substance to flow into a well more freely. The chemicals and water push open pathways by fracturing solid shale formations, and the sand sets in these fractures, keeping them open.

The types and amounts of chemicals used on a specific hydraulic fracturing site are almost never fully disclosed. Water contamination occurs because some of the injected fluids get trapped underground. Diesel fuel and some of the other chemicals used in hydraulic fracking have been found to be toxic, cancer-causing agents.

Is Hydraulic Fracturing Poisoning Our Drinking Water?

People that live near fracturing operations have complained of changes in their water quality following fracking of nearby gas wells. Oil and gas deposits are often found in the same spot as underground water supplies. Underground contamination can occur through the injection of chemicals directly into water supplies during the actual fracturing process. When the collected chemicals are stored deep underground, they may eventually reach the water supply.

There is also always a risk of surface contamination through spilled or stored chemicals that are carried to water pathways through storm runoff. In addition, the sheer volume of water being used by the hydraulic fracturing process can affect water quality and availability, as well as affecting sensitive ecosystems.

Hydraulic Fracturing of Coal Bed Methane (CBM)

Companies are looking to drill for coal bed methane (CBM), another source of natural gas. Coal beds are able to retain large amounts of gas, and have become an increasingly significant source of natural gas. Coal formations to contain drinking water aquifers have been found in Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Kansas, Montana, New Mexico, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia and Wyoming.

Find Out if Your Drinking Water is Contaminated

If you believe your drinking water has been affected by hydraulic fracturing contact our water pollution lawyers today.

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