Posted by: Requier Wait | June 30, 2014

Fracking: Risks to Water?

Water, particularly water quality, is one of the main issues surrounding the Fracking/Environment debate. I recently attended a lecture by Prof Avner Vengosh (Duke University) who works on this specific issue in the USA. (Have a look at his publication).There are many facets to the water issue. Prof Vengosh’s presentation highlighted three areas of concern:

1) The acquisition of water (Where will the water for Fracking be acquired?, will it influence the availability of water for the domestic population?, will operations take place in water stressed areas?)

2) Which chemicals will be used in the fracking process?

3) What will happen to the waste water? (to what extent can it be recycled?).

Furthermore, the publication highlights a number of risks, particularly:

1) Possible contamination of shallow aquifers through stray gas leaking –  well integrity/poorly constructed wells.

2) Possible water contamination in areas of shale development and or waste management – spills, leaks or disposal of fracking fluid & untreated waste water.

3) The accumulation of metals & radioactive elements in water sources.

4) Impact on fresh water in water stressed areas.

The presentation once again highlights the importance of effective regulation and monitoring of Fracking activities to ensure that the risks to water resources are minimised.

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