Fracking groundwater safety –
There are only three ways that groundwater could potentially get contaminated by hydraulic fracturing, which are, inadequate water management plans, surface spills, and methane migration.
According to the EPA there have been no reported cases on ground water contamination due to fracking; however, here are three methods that shale drilling companies used to make sure our water is safe.
Best Management Practices
In order to prevent inadequate water management plans, fracking facilities are ordered to follow Best Management Practices (BMPs). BMPs is term used to describe the process in which storm water, industrial waste water, municipal sewage, and wetland water is managed. If BMPs are not followed surface water containing silt and debris may run off into the local water ways.
The most commonly recognized surface spills are fuel spills (gasoline and diesel) from vehicles and other equipment. Hydraulic fracturing spills can be prevented by preventing chemicals or chemical-laden fluids from spilling or leaking into groundwater, fields, and streams. Chemical-laden is fracking fluid, slickwater, and/or flowback. Slickwater is a combination of water and chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing to reduce friction, maintain pressure, and increase fluid flow into the well. Flowback is a fluid the rises to the surface, usually occurring within 7-10 days of drilling, continuing for 3-4 weeks, and contains clay, salts, and rock particles.
Surface spills can be identified by a chemical “fingerprint.” To date, no substantial cases have been made over surface spills entering the groundwater supply.
It’s difficult to tie a relationship between methane migration and hydraulic fracturing of Marcellus Shall because it’s difficult to determine where the methane originated from. Methane is located deep underground, but can rise up close to the surface and make its way into groundwater supplies. In order to prevent methane from rising up, three layers of steel casings are required on Marcellus wells.