This threat to my drinking water is closer to my doorstep then I ever imagined
Local impact of water stewardship
The safeguards we implement to protect out water supply affect the security of our drinking water on global scale. At the same time the precautions implemented can be observed at a local level. In my case, I was reading my local paper where I learned about a proposal under review which would permit the expansion the underground geologic formation where waste fluids could be injected. Once I read the article I realized threat to my drinking water was much closer that I thought.
I did a presentation last year on “Why the Oil and Gas Industries received an exemption to the Clean Water Act” to conduct fracking operations. The Clean Water Act was created protect our water supplies against items which can cause harm which includes produced water which is the water produced by the fracking process.
A mixture of sand, water, and chemicals are injected into the well. The shale within the well is fractured by the pressure of the fluid inside the well. The sand is added keeps the cracks open and natural gas flows from the cracks into the well. The chemicals are used to inhibit corrosion, prevent micro biological growth, among other purposes. The natural gas is extracted from the water and piped to market. The water remaining after the gas had been removed is referred to as the produced water or the injected fluid. Only half of the produced water is captured and is stored in open pits then taken to a treatment plant. The other half, including the chemicals seeps back into the ground and is never recovered.
Image my alarm to learn just a few miles from where I am writing this blog posting an oil company was trying to receive permission to expand the area where fracking fluids could be injected. The company in question, which per the article, has a history of being cited for the improper disposal of hazardous waste materials.
Where have we heard this?
The article stated the analysis (Oil and Gas supervisor) indicated: The formation does not serve as a source of drinking water, the injected fluid will remain in aquifer due to geological conditions, the injected water will not migrate beyond the proposed exemption boundaries.
The reasons for my concern – threat to my drinking water
My primary concern is that water will at some point be used by nature not if it not selected as a source for drinking water. The second reason is oil industry waste water injection is suspected of causing earthquakes in Oklahoma, Texas, and California. There is an active fault line which generated earthquake near where I live nearly 25 years ago.
I was not aware of any oil companies’ plan to inject produced fluids near the source of my drinking water but now I know people are injecting produced water all bets are off. Have you thought about who might be drilling in proximity to where you live and its potential threat of your drinking water supply?