Thursday, 5 January 2012

New Fracking worries: Methane Leaks and Radioactive Water!

We note with little surprise, but some concern an article by Linda Marsa in the international journal 'Year in Science 2011' containing confirmations of methane leaks and now Radioactive Water at fracking locations in the USA. Extracts are printed below.........

' The drilling technique known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, came under renewed pressure this past year. Fracking makes it possible to tap into vast domestic reserves of low-carbon natural gas, but the process, which uses sand, chemicals, and millions of gallons of water to free gas trapped inside dense rock,has sparked environmental questions. New evidence bolsters those concerns.

Drinking water samples from 68 wells in Pennsylvania and New York were contaminated with excess methane, according to a report published last May in the ' Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences'. The study, led by environmental chemist Robert Jackson of Duke University, was the first to find a conclusive link between fracking and groundwater pollution. The closer the wells were to the drill site, the higher the methane concentrations, some of which were above the level that raises alarm at the Department of the Interior. Subsequent tests of more than 100 additional wells confirmed the findings, says Jackson, who thinks the most probable culprit is faulty construction of the gas wells. Compounding concerns, reports from the Environmental Protection Agency leaked earlier in the year indicated that the fracking wastewater is too radioactive to be handled safely by water treatment plants.'

The report underlines ongoing concerns that should fracking come to pass in this region in particular, so many things that we all hold dear ( wine production, heritage sites, food production etc., ) will be at risk. Should our 'friends' in the oil and gas industry have their way following the forthcoming elections (and they show absolutely no sign of backing off ) there is every reason to believe that the American experience could be replicated here. Given that over 1 billion litres of water were deployed at the 'Blackpool' site in the UK prior to temporary cessation and this in the face of acknowledged semi-drought conditions, one can only wonder at the wisdom of politicians.

1 comment:

  1. Well that's one of the horrible effects of fracking alright. If it can't be avoided, I hope people/companies involved have an airtight (or waterproof, in this case) solution to containing this contaminated radioactive water.

    Richelle Loughney