Dangers of Hydraulic FrackingMarch 11, 2011
In April of 2010, local authorities say a light to moderate earth quake jolted the small town of Dish, Texas. Reportedly, the earth quake registered a magnitude of 4.0 on the Richter scale and occurred at a depth of 5.0 Km. Experts say the earthquake density maps of the region clearly illustrate the growing concern that such geological incidents are being caused by oil and gas production. Particularly, the method of production known as "hydraulic fracking" is thought to be the cause of the problem. The town of Dish sits atop the Barnett Shale which is major source of natural gas for the industry.
Reportedly, residents of Dish claim the fracking is also responsible for serious health issues facing the community. Sources say the residents of Dish have complained of nose bleeds, pain, and poor circulation. In fact, sources say that the mayor of Dish left his position because the fracking was causing his son to have severe nose bleeds. Further, sources say that hydraulic fracking might be contaminating some drinking water supplies. One Dish resident claims that shortly after a fracking procedure near her private well, a sandy sediment became present in the water. According to the resident, after a year the sediment clogged the entire plumbing system rendering the well unusable. Reportedly, the town of Dish has also conducted its own investigation into the sandy sediment which shows arsenic levels 7.5 times the acceptable limit for drinking water.
Sources say hydraulic fracturing or fracking is a common method of oil production on American soil. Experts point out that fossil fuels have always been extractable from natural occurrences in certain rock formations. However, some of these fuels are too diffused with the rock formation to be economically feasible through traditional drilling methods. Experts say the increase in demand of oil has sparked an increase in fracking technology. This is why fracking is being used to increase production at drill sites in shale that was previously too expensive to drill. Industry representatives say the actual process of fracking involves pumping a water based chemical compound straight into the earth. Pumping the water based chemical compound deep into the rock formations causes the cracks in the earth's crust to expand and combine. Sources say the expanded cracks allow one well to tap into multiple oil or gas deposits.
Critics say even though fracking allows for cheaper drilling, it comes at a high cost to public health and the environment. Critics point out that injecting the water compound into the cracks of the earth is extremely unnatural and is meant to weaken the vertical joints in the shale bedrock. Sources say that areas which the shale is naturally weaker will now be more susceptible to seismic events. There is also a fear that the chemical fracking compound will taint the water supply in deep reservoirs. However, sources say the drilling industry still refuses to make the actual contents of the chemical fracking compound known to the public.
Reportedly, many lawsuits have recently been filed against several oil companies for damages resulting from the fracking process.