Source Water Protection Committee
Lydia Balla, Msc Geoenvironmental Engineer
Stamatopoulos & Associates, L.T.D. Geotechnical & Earthquake Engineers
Lydia is a member of the Source Water Committee and has graciously offered to preview articles on the topic of fracking. These as well as others can be found by searching the "links" function on the ISAWWA website.
1. British minister says fracking is safe
The report released in October by Public Health England concluded that fracking was safe. The minister of state in the Department of Energy and Climate Change -- said a soon-to-be released report by Water UK will conclude fracking does not pose a serious threat to the country's drinking water and he supports the potential for fracking"southern basin" of England.
2. Some say that gas can cause "significant damage” to drinking-water aquifers
EPA official links fracking and drinking water issues in Dimock, Pa.
Drilling for natural gas caused "significant damage” to drinking-water aquifers in a Pennsylvania town at the center of a fight over the safety of hydraulic fracturing, according to a report prepared by a federal official.The EPA said the findings in the presentation are preliminary and more study is needed.
3. There are opinions that it may cause earthquake
Research has linked the Ohio Earthquakes to the underground injection of wastewater from fracking.
On December 2010, the Northstar 1 injection well came online to pump wastewater from fracking projects in Pennsylvania into storage deep underground. In the year that followed, seismometers in and around Youngstown recorded 109 earthquakes, the strongest registering a magnitude-3.9 earthquake on Dec. 31, 2011. Scientists believe that Earthquakes were triggered by fluid injection
The earthquake of November 5, 2011, registered a magnitude 5.7, and was the largest ever recorded in OklahomaIt injured two people, destroyed 14 homes, toppled headstones,closed schools, and was felt in 17 states. It was preceded by a 4.7 foreshock the morning prior and followed by a 4.7 aftershock.
The only possible culprit was the Wilzetta Fault, (a dead faultmysteriously and violently awakened) a 320-million-year-old rift lurking between Prague and nearby Meeker. Petroleum Engineers, recognized the matter was serious enough to call its first-ever meeting devoted to "injection induced seismicity." Held in September, the SPE's 115-member workshop sought to "better understand and mitigate potential risks."
Seismologists from the Columbia University have identified three quakes - in Oklahoma, Colorado and Texas that they believe were triggered at injection well sites by a major earthquake a long distance away.American geologists said that a domino effect of quakes could be caused by intense pressure on fault lines created by hydraulic fracturing, combined with seismic activity thousands of miles away. Te injecting fluid underground can increase pressure on seismic faults and make them more likely to slip. The result is called an 'induced' quake.
4. Some people are protesting against it
To Frack or Not to Frack in Illinois
New legislation that will regulate fracking in the state of Illinois has divided environmentalists
The Hydraulic Fracturing Regulatory Act has received the endorsement of Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn, a Democrat, who said that "This legislation will open the door for thousands of jobs and significant economic development in Southern Illinois. It’s the result of a good-faith effort by lawmakers, industry and labor leaders, environmental groups and members of my administration to ensure Illinois’ natural resources are protected.”
But some groups has organized a demonstration to protest agains it. They believe that fracking has the potential to contaminate the drinking water of residents due to chemicals used during natural gas operations.They relate the exposure to chemicals known as "endocrine disruptors,” with diseases including cancer to diabetes. Meanwhile, industry officials say fracking can be done safely.
Why I’m against fracking
Local residents are concerned that this hydraulic fracturing is a risk to human health and the natural environment, through the noise, pollution and even possible ground tremors it can cause. The fluids used in the process contain hundreds of chemicals, including lead, uranium, mercury, radium and hydrochloric acid - not exactly what you’d like to find in your local groundwater or aquifer. Shale gas production declines very rapidly as pressure within the earth closes up the fracking fissures. That means mean huge sums of money need to be continually ploughed into them to keep production going.
5.EPA is doing his best in order to employappropriate scientific methods for its water quality testing,”conducting a study to better understand any potential impacts of hydraulic fracturing on drinking water resources
EPA Acknowledges Pavillion Study Deficiencies
API Group Director of Upstream and Industry Operations Erik Milito welcomed recently announcement from the EPA that said flawed water testing results from Pavillion, Wyo., would not be part of its hydraulic fracturing review. He supportes that promote best practices and comply with state and federal regulators”
Technical reports released by the United States Geological Survey (USGS) showed that USGS groundwater sampling results contradicted EPA’s results and that the EPA monitoring wells created for the testing were unsuitable for groundwater quality assessment.
EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson stated back in 2011, while the Pavillion work was ongoing, there is no "proven case where the fracking process itself has affected water.”
http://www2.epa.gov/hfstudyEPA's Study of Hydraulic Fracturing and Its Potential Impact on Drinking Water ResourcesThe progress report was released in December 2012 and a draft report is expected to be released for public comment and peer review in 2014
6. But Fracking is coming to IllinoisFracking comes to Illinois, for better or worse. Illinois could see a boomlet of its own in coming months due to fracking. If some of wells are successful, downstate Illinois could see meaningful oil and gas production and job and activity it generates for the first time in decades. Energy companies are paying more than 100$ an acre for leasing deals with land owners. They are seeking (except of natural gas) natural gas liquids like ethane, fetching significantly higher commodity prices than heating quality natural gas. But there are worries about the impact on the environment.
7. Some consider it personal issueFracking Issue Is Personal For Rep. Jared Polis . He owns a farm home in Berthoud where his partner’s father and sister live. He says last weekend heavy equipment moved in across the county road onto his neighbor’s property. The congressman filed a temporary restraining order to stop the drilling activity by Sundance Energy. The judge did not grant that order so Polis withdrew it, but he now plans study the effects of that operation.
8. There are contradictions
A First Nation in northeastern B.C. is demanding the provincial government take more precautions before awarding water licences to companies for natural gas fracking. Twenty water licence applications are currently before the government. The Fort Nelson First Nation says the wholesale giveaway of water to the shale gas industry must stop and is calling for five changes to how water licenses are studied and issued.
9. Some are trying to see the full or empty part of glassWith natural gas in the spotlight, shale gas is expected to play a more significant role in natural gas-fueled power as wellShale gas is an abundant energy source and a way to reduce our collective carbon footprint. The percentage of power generated from natural gas in the United States is expected to nearly double to 40 percent during the next 25 years.Economics favor regions with growing markets and ample energy supplies. And the risks of hydraulic fracturing are under study. The growing use of fracking to bring natural gas to the earth’s surface has raised environmental concerns. Much of the concern swirls around water. Effective water management techniques provide solutions to these problems. With effective regulatory oversight, continued research, strict adherence to regulations and industry best practices, better public education, and more widespread reuse of water by well operators, the possibilities run deep
How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love FrackingNatural gas is one of the best fuel options around because of its low carbon intensity. Energy boom added more than 2.1 million direct and indirect jobs to the U.S. economy last year. That should reach the 3.3 million mark by the end of the decade. For actual monetary gains, increased wages and lower energy and manufacturing costs should add another $2,000 per year to American incomes by 2015, an increase of more than 60 percent from last year. The economic and environmental attributes aren't enough to quiet fracking opponents. But, natural gas, it's an "environmentally attractive fuel compared with other hydrocarbon fuels."
Fracking for shale gas is safe as long as operations are well-regulated and well-run, the main public health watchdog for England said after reviewing evidence from the US on the controversial technology. Well integrity – the assurance that the fracking wells have no form of leak or damage that could cause a leak – was identified as the key concern. According to the PHE, most of the problems in the US have resulted from failures of regulators and companies to observe good practice. That’s why government will continue to work with industry to ensure the stringent safety guidelines are upheld as they explore the great potential for shale, focusing on Public safety and health
10. Some been wondering whether "is it safe?
Fracking technological breakthrough had an immediate impact on natural gas prices, causing them to plummet and remain low to the present time. The Energy Information Administration estimates that the U.S. has in excess of 2,119 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) of technically recoverable natural gas,enough to power the U.S. for 88 years at current rates of consumption.Despite this important stride toward future U.S. energy security, hydraulic fracturing has come under attack. (EPA) and the Ground Water Protection Council (GWPC) found that there have been no confirmed incidents of groundwater contamination from hydraulic fracturing. Furthermore, stringent state and federal regulations on well design and construction ensure that fracturing fluid additives do not migrate upward into active or treatable water reservoirs.
11. Of course there is criticism from environmentalists
Study Finds Radioactive Fracking Water In Stream
New research from Duke University adds more fodder to the debate. They found high concentrations of the element radium, a highly radioactive substance. The concentrations were roughly 200 times higher than background levels. In addition, amounts of chloride and bromide in the water were two to ten times greater than normal." in a stream not far from a fracking location. The treatment plant was the Josephine Brine Treatment Facility on Blacklick Creek. Environmental groupbelieve that wastewater plants may not be ready to treat fracking wastewater.
12. That’s why it should be done right
Make sure fracking is done right
The United States is now the world's largest producer of natural gas. Icreased production of cleaner burning natural gas has helped cut U.S. greenhouse gas emissions to their lowest level in more than a decade. And while claims of looming "energy independence" are wildly over the top, there's no question that the oil and gas boom is making the country more secure in the world.The practice has raised alarm and people fear that their water will be contaminated by the chemicals that are used in fracking. People are right to insist that fracking is done safely, but they're wrong if they conclude that it can't be. The key is to drill down on the biggest problems and require drillers to address them (including greater disclosure of fracking fluids and tighter standards for cementing wells).
Melinda Chapman and Sharon Fitzgerald discuss the U.S. Geological Survey groundwater sampling program to characterize water-suppy well water quality in the area of North Carolina with potential for shale gas production. The sampling program is designed to provide a pre-devolpment baseline that can be compared with well-water quality after shale gas development has occurred to assess any impacts on water quality.
13. Rules should be proposed and obeyed
Michigan Proposes Fracking Rules To Protect WaterThe Michigan Department of Environmental Quality proposed new regulations this month that would slap reporting and monitoring requirements on drilling companies, affecting how oil and gas companies approach water issues.They include: installing a well to monitor groundwater levels if there is a water supply well within 1,320 feet of the fracking operation, permit applicants use the state’s water withdrawal assessment tool, a push for greater transparency etc.On Thursday, April 26, 2012, the Illinois State Senate unanimously passed a bill, SB 3280,setting standards for the extraction of hydrocarbons from shale using hydraulic fracturing,known as "fracking,” in Illinois. Under the proposed legislation,well operators must (a) explain how the produced fluid is disposed; and (b) disclose theamount of water and the amount of certain chemical ingredients used. The bill also allowswell operators to declare certain information as trade secret, such as the amount of thechemicals used and the order they are administered. It suggests Regulation of"green completion.”air emissions from fracking may be addressed in future legislation.
(Washington, DC - July 18, 2013) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Justice announced a settlement with XTO Energy Inc., a subsidiary of Exxon Mobil Corporation, to resolve an alleged violation of the Clean Water Act (CWA) related to the discharge of wastewater from XTO’s Penn Township, Pa. facility used for the storage of wastewater generated by natural gas exploration, commonly known as fracking, and production.
14. Oil And Gas Companies are interested to make it work of course
Oil And Gas Companies Look To Recycle Fracking Water
A growing number of oil and gas companies are sold on the idea of recycling wastewaterand various technologies are available to get the job done. Regulators and energy companies are looking at ways to recycle hydraulic fracturing flowback and produced water, or use systems that can work with higher-salinity water, in efforts that could lead to cost savings, environmental benefits and less truck traffic on roads that are dangerously behind the boom," "In Texas, requests for recycling permits rose from fewer than two a year in 2011 to 30 approved applications in fiscal year 2012. So the Texas Railroad Commission, the agency that oversees oil and gas operations, revamped the rules in March, eliminating the need for drillers to get a permit if they recycle on their own lease or on a third-party's property," according to the report.
US Land To Achieve Record Frac Stage Counts in 2013; Efficiencies Continue to Restrain DemandOil and gas drilling and completion activity in the US is robust, but increased efficiencies are restraining recovery of frac demand. PacWest forecasts that US horizontal rig count will increase by 1% in 2014 after falling by 5% in 2013. Additionally, PacWest forecasts horizontal well frac'ed to increase by 5% in 2014, following an 11% increase in 2013. Improvements in frac efficiency and productivity have structurally reduced demand for frac horsepower.The one potential bright spot in North America is Canada, where moderate pricing increases are expected in late 2014. Much of the anticipated demand ramp-up will occur as a result of activity growth in the Duvernay and the Montney plays to support West Coast LNG development.
Pa. Boom City Keeps Optimism as Gas Drilling SlowsEconomic activity in this city affectionately known as "Billtown" has subsided noticeably in the last year as the pace of drilling natural gas wells slowed in response to low gas prices. It raises questions about the stability and permanence of even the small number of jobs that have been created. The shale boom brought an onslaught of landmen, engineers, seismic surveyors, and fracking crews. Developers quickly built restaurants, lofts, executive apartments. The new companies have become integrated into the community, contributing money and time to nonprofits. "At this point, everybody's fitting in, like all our other legacy industries," said Lycoming County Commissioner Jeff Wheeland. Some local companies that have experienced the euphoric growth of the gas industry are now looking to diversify.