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[PDF Format] – This worksheet allows homeowners to keep track of septic system inspections and maintenance. This checklist is included in the booklet above or may also be used separately.
New Fracking Research:
Disputes a fundamental industry claim.
A primary claim of the hydraulic fracking industry is that deeply buried rock layers will always seal and contain the dangerous chemicals that are injected thousands of feet underground.
But a new study released in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences concluded that fracking for natural gas under Marcellus Shale in Pennsylvania may lead to harmful gas or liquids flowing upward and contaminating drinking-water supplies.
The study found that salty, mineral-rich fluids deep beneath Pennsylvania’s natural gas fields are seeping upward thousands of feet into drinking water supplies. Although it found no evidence of fracking chemicals doing the same, the findings suggest that there are paths that would let hazardous gas or fluids flow up after drilling:
“The biggest implication is the apparent presence of connections from deep underground to the surface,” Robert Jackson, a biology professor at Duke University and one of the study’s authors, told ProPublica. “It’s a suggestion based on good evidence that there are places that may be more at risk.”
The study supplements another recent study that used computer modeling to predict how fracking fluids would move over time and found that they could migrate toward drinking water supplies far more quickly than experts have previously predicted.
Critics of the study said that it doesn’t prove that fracking fluids have traveled up to aquifers and argue that gas and water from fracking will flow into the well and not up through fissures that may exist.
Hydraulic fracking is a process in which water, sand and chemicals are injected into deep shale formations to crack the rock and free trapped gas.
The natural gas in Marcellus Shale, which stretches from New York to Tennessee and may hold enough gas to supply the U.S. for three years, has led to permits for more than 11,000 wells. The practice had been an economic boon for Pennsylvania and has helped set decade-low natural gas prices nationwide.
But there is growing evidence of the hazards of fracking. Last year some of the same Duke researchers published findings that methane contamination of drinking water accompanied fracking.
Researchers at the Colorado School of Public Health recently found that air pollution caused by hydraulic fracturing raises the risk of acute and chronic health problems for those living near natural gas drilling sites.
The oil and gas industry doesn’t have to publicly disclose most of the chemicals it pumps into the ground, but we know the list contains several carcinogens. Even landfills have begun to reject fracking fluid waste.
The powers that be may know the risk of those chemicals being known as there is a new “doctor gag rule” law in Pennsylvania that provides doctors access to trade-secret chemicals used in natural gas drilling so that they can treat people who have been made sick but prohibits doctors from sharing that information with anyone, even other doctors.
Fracking debate at Aspen Ideas Fest: Audience decides that fracking does more harm than good.
The Colorado Independent | By Troy Hooper Posted: 07/06/2012 5:02 pm
An emerging oil boom has been sparked by modern technologies using horizontal drilling and a technique known as hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” to coax out oil and gas. The potential production from the Mississippian Lime formation here – and its impact on domestic energy supplies – remains uncertain. But the use of the technology to unlock energy supplies previously unavailable i
ASPEN — After an Oxford-style debate Sunday night, environmental attorneys Deborah Goldberg and Katherine Hudson convinced 15 percent of the audience here to change their minds about hydraulic fracturing. Before the debate, only 38 percent of the audience agreed that the detriments of hydraulic fracturing are greater than its benefits but afterward, 53 percent agreed fracking does more harm than good.
“There are hundreds of millions of dollars being spent to ensure that this industry can continue to operate without the science and without the protections we need — $320 million spent on lobbying the federal government in just two years,” Goldberg said. “As a result, what we are hearing now is not how we’re going to end our addiction to fossil fuels, but instead, a hundred years of gas. Now, a hundred years of gas is based on extracting every molecule of gas from all of our reserves, even those that we haven’t actually discovered yet, when it is well known that only about 10 percent of those reserves tend to be economically feasible to develop.”
On the other side of the debate were New York Times op-ed columnist Joe Nocera and former U.S. Department of Energy assistant secretary of policy Sue Tierney.
“Think about a world where you don’t have to worry about cartels, you don’t have to worry about being dependent on our enemies for oil, a world where foreign policy is not dictated by our need for oil,” Nocera said. “The ability of the United States to have its own resource once again in a way that we never thought we were going to is a tremendous gift that’s been handed to us, and fracking is the way that we’re taking advantage of it.”
The debate, hosted by Intelligence Squared at the Aspen Ideas Festival, tapped into the controversial practice of fracking, in which millions of gallons of water, along with sand and chemicals, are pumped thousands of feet into the ground, under high pressure, to break up rock to release oil and gas. One byproduct of fracking, methane gas, is often released into the air and it can even pollute drinking water. Studies show there is an increased risk of cancer and other maladies for residents in gas-land areas.
“One, there will always be accidents, spills, mechanical failures, and human error,” said Hudson. “Two, the gas industry has consistently fought enforceable rules and there is insufficient state and federal staff to ensure compliance with what rules do exist. Three, the idea that the industry as a whole will comply with voluntary best practices — as I think our opponents have acknowledged — in the face of falling gas prices, is unlikely. Given the continued risk of harm and all of fracking’s costs weighed against its limited benefits for most, it is beyond dispute that the natural gas boom is doing more harm than good.”
Tierney and Hudson called for a balanced energy outlook, one that embraces the promise of natural gas, which is abundant in the United States and burns more cleanly than traditional coal production. Natural gas is also more affordable than many fuels and viewed as “a bridge fuel” to renewables, they said.
“What I really wish is that people would stop demonizing this fuel, because it makes it impossible to find sensible solutions in the middle,” she said. “There are sensible solutions in the middle. We should be working on enabling those to develop over time. Our main argument is that the two principal sources of energy in the United States, coal and oil, are much more damaging to the environment than is natural gas, and that’s for the communities where those are used as well as to the nation as a whole.”
The debate is being broadcast this month on National Public Radio, and it will be telecast on WNET on July 18, the same day as a celebrity-driven protest is planned in Washington, D.C., called “Stop the Frack Attack.” The event will have three demands for Congress: stop dangerous fracking, close seven legal loopholes that exempt the oil and gas industry from parts of the Safe Drinking Water, Clean Air, and Clean Water Acts, and implement a pathway toward 100 percent clean renewable energy. The event will include Mark Ruffalo, Pete Seeger, Lois Gibbs, Bill McKibben, Ed Begley Jr., Ed Asner, Josh Fox, Gus Speth, Cornel West, Vandana Shiva, Holly Near, James Hansen, Dar Williams, Michael Kieschnick, Joe Uehlein, Margot Kidder and over 100 organizations and community groups.
Big and small governments across the country are grappling with ways to best regulate fracking, including North Carolina where on Monday night a state representative mistakenly cast the wrong vote. Democrat Becky Carney accidentally pushed the green button when she meant to hit the red one. It was the deciding House vote and it ultimately meant that North Carolina will have to wait until it establishes rules for hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling for oil and gas exploration.
“Oh my gosh. I pushed green,” she reportedly said, blaming her gaffe on fatigue.
“I feel rotten, and I feel tired,” she added.
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Green Alerts At Energy, Video, Marcellus Shale Study, Marcellus Shale, Duke University Drilling Study, Duke University Fracking Study, Fracking, Fracking Contamination, Fracking Pollution, Pa Fracking, Pa Gas Drilling, Pennsylvania Fracking, Pennsylvania Gas Drilling, Green News
Marcellus Shale Fracking Wastewater Harmful
By News Staff | May 9th 2012 04:35 PM
A new paper by Natural Resources Defense Council says hydraulic fracturing (fracking) generates massive amounts of polluted wastewater in in the Marcellus Shale that threatens the health of drinking water supplies, rivers, streams, and groundwater – and that federal and state regulations have not kept pace with the dramatic growth of fracking and must be strengthened to reduce the risks of health issues throughout the Marcellus region.
Their paper contends the wastewater contains potentially harmful pollutants, including salts, organic hydrocarbons, inorganic and organic additives and naturally occurring radioactive material. These pollutants can be dangerous if they are released into the environment or if people are exposed to them. They can be toxic to humans and aquatic life and can damage ecosystem health by depleting oxygen or causing algal blooms, or they can interact with disinfectants at drinking water plants to form cancer-causing chemicals.
Condensed from their paper:
Natural gas is found in underground layers of rock and shale gas formations are generally tighter and much less permeable than other formations, causing the gas to flow less easily.
The Marcellus is the largest shale gas area in the United States by geographic area, spanning New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia. Shale gas sources generally require more complex and expensive technologies for production and are termed ‘unconventional’ compared to more conventional drilling for oil. Other sources of unconventional gas include coal seams and impermeable sandstone formations. As of 2008, unconventional production accounted for 46 percent of total U.S. natural gas production
Hydraulic fracturing involves the injection of liquid under pressure to fracture the rock formation and prop open the fractures, allowing natural gas to flow more freely from the formation into the well for collection.
The development of hydraulic fracturing technology, along with advances that allow the horizontal drilling of wells, has facilitated the expansion of shale gas development over the past 20 years.
Prior to these innovations, shale gas development was not viewed as economically feasible, but recently such development has exploded. The first economically producing wells in the Marcellus were drilled in 2003; in 2010, 1,386 Marcellus wells were drilled in Pennsylvania alone (up from 763 drilled in 2009).
The liquids used in the hydraulic fracturing process consist primarily of water, either fresh or recycled, along with chemicals used to modify the water’s characteristics (for example, to reduce friction or corrosion) and sand or other agents, referred to as “proppants,” that hold open the fractures in the formation.
Wastewater, flowback and production phase water, contain potentially harmful constituents and the NRDC says the current regulatory approach is in adequate and their paper outlines limitations of current state and federal policies.
“In Fracking’s Wake: New Rules are Needed to Protect Our Health and Environment from Contaminated Wastewater“, Rebecca Hammer and Jeanne VanBriesen, Ph.D., PE, NRDC
Even Landfills Don't Want Fracking Fluid Waste
|Rob Wile | Jun. 18, 2012, 1:00 PM |469 ||
o Kansas landfills near a fracking site have declined to take in the drilling fluid waste, citing a blanket ban on liquids that cannot be contained.
Gale Rose from The Pratt Tribune in Pratt, KS writes the Pratt County landfill rejected an unnamed drilling company's proposal after a nearby landfill with more advance control precautions, like a protective liner, also said no.
"If they (nearby Reno County) have concerns about it I definitely have concerns about it,” Dean Staab, director of Environmental Services for Pratt County, told Rose.
The fluid is actually a mud, Rose reports. If it were to be delivered dry, the landfills would consider storing it, she said.
Meanwhile New Jersey last week voted to ban the transport of fracking wastewater into the state.
Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle, a Democrat who's one of the measure's sponsors, said in a statement that allowing fracking waste to come into New Jersey is too risky for public health.
"Given the relative newness of this practice, the total damage inflicted during and after drilling is still unknown," Huttle said. "But the evidence is already mounting that fracking comes with serious environmental consequences."Read more: [/toggle]
Geochemical evidence for possible natural migration of Marcellus Formation brine to shallow aquifers in Pennsylvania
- Nathaniel R. Warnera,
- Robert B. Jacksona,b,
- Thomas H. Darraha,
- Stephen G. Osbornc,
- Adrian Downb,
- Kaiguang Zhaob,
- Alissa Whitea, and
- Avner Vengosha,1
Author Affiliations1. aDivision of Earth and Ocean Sciences, Nicholas School of the Environment, Duke University, Durham, NC 27708; 2. bCenter on Global Change, Nicholas School of the Environment, Duke University, Durham, NC 27708; and 3. cGeological Sciences Department, California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, CA 91768
- Edited by Karl K. Turekian, Yale University, North Haven, CT, and approved May 10, 2012 (received for review January 5, 2012)
The debate surrounding the safety of shale gas development in the Appalachian Basin has generated increased awareness of drinking water quality in rural communities. Concerns include the potential for migration of stray gas, metal-rich formation brines, and hydraulic fracturing and/or flowback fluids to drinking water aquifers. A critical question common to these environmental risks is the hydraulic connectivity between the shale gas formations and the overlying shallow drinking water aquifers. We present geochemical evidence from northeastern Pennsylvania showing that pathways, unrelated to recent drilling activities, exist in some locations between deep underlying formations and shallow drinking water aquifers. Integration of chemical data (Br, Cl, Na, Ba, Sr, and Li) and isotopic ratios (87Sr/86Sr, 2H/H, 18O/16O, and 228Ra/226Ra) from this and previous studies in 426 shallow groundwater samples and 83 northern Appalachian brine samples suggest that mixing relationships between shallow ground water and a deep formation brine causes groundwater salinization in some locations. The strong geochemical fingerprint in the salinized (Cl > 20 mg/L) groundwater sampled from the Alluvium, Catskill, and Lock Haven aquifers suggests possible migration of Marcellus brine through naturally occurring pathways. The occurrences of saline water do not correlate with the location of shale-gas wells and are consistent with reported data before rapid shale-gas development in the region; however, the presence of these fluids suggests conductive pathways and specific geostructural and/or hydrodynamic regimes in northeastern Pennsylvania that are at increased risk for contamination of shallow drinking water resources, particularly by fugitive gases, because of natural hydraulic connections to deeper formations.
- To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: email@example.com.
- Author contributions: N.R.W., R.B.J., and A.V. designed research; N.R.W., R.B.J., S.G.O., A.D., A.W., and A.V. performed research; N.R.W., R.B.J., T.H.D., K.Z., and A.V. analyzed data; and N.R.W., R.B.J., T.H.D., and A.V. wrote the paper.
- The authors declare no conflict of interest.
New twist in fracking debate
upi.com/Business DURHAM, N.C., July 10 (UPI) -- A U.S. study found there may be some natural processes occurring with the contamination of water supplies in a shale play in Pennsylvania.
A study conducted by researchers at Duke University and California State Polytechnic University found natural processes were leading to some levels of contamination in drinking water wells and aquifers in northeastern Pennsylvania.
Pennsylvania hosts a portion of the Marcellus shale play, one of the largest sources of natural gas in the United States.
Shale natural gas extraction is controversial. There are concerns that some of the waste associated with the extraction methods could find their way into drinking water supplies.
Scientists found that salty water laced with certain chemicals like barium or compounds like methane were from natural pathways of contamination.
Robert Jackson, an ecologist at Duke University and one of the report's authors, said the mineral-rich fluids are seeping upwards through the shale layer.
He told National Public Radio scientists were working to figure out what was coming from shale gas extraction and what was from natural processes.
"They are a possible conduit for movement of salts or fracking chemicals or even gases up to the surface," he said. "But we just don't know how likely that is."
The study was published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
- Mistake allows N.C. fracking veto override
- Perdue vetoes fracking legislation
- Professors argue against fracking
- Obama aide: 'Fracking' rules on track
- NWF reviews Ohio, Mich. fracking laws
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