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Articles in "fracking" category

Fracking and Water Supply

Posted on: August 30th, 2013 by admin No Comments

Here at Aquatec, we have been following all of the developments and debate around fracking closely for a number of years now. The impact it could have on our water supply is a very real concern and worthy of our attention.

In recent months the debate has intensified as fracking or hydraulic fracturing  is imminent in some locations across England.  This has sparked heated debate and protests, most notably in West Sussex as Cuadrilla started drilling an exploratory oil well in Balcombe.   (more…)

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Report Highlights Threat of Fracking to Water Reserves

Posted on: August 9th, 2012 by admin No Comments

Report on Fracking

A new report has laid bare the dangers that the fracking industry poses to water in both the United States and the United Kingdom.

Stony Brook University in New York carried out an investigation into contaminated wastewater from hydraulic fracturing wells producing natural gas.

Induced hydraulic fracturing is used to release petroleum, natural gas (including shale gas, tight gas and coal seam gas), or other substances for extraction.

This process, known as fracking, is seen by some as a vital source of renewable energy, but by others as a huge threat to the state of pure water the world over as it creates a substantial amount of wastewater.

Fracking involves pumping fluids underground into shale formations to release pockets of natural gas that are then pumped to the surface.

The concern is that fractured fluids migrate through underground fractures into drinking water with petroleum, gas and its associated chemicals proving highly harmful to humans when ingested.

The report says that even in the best case scenario wastewater disposal from an individual well would potentially release 202 m3 of contaminated fluids.

The problem requires additional safeguards from the water industry to prevent radon, radium and other radioactive materials from finding their way into drinking water.

As a result, regulators and other authorities should consider additional mandatory steps to reduce the potential of drinking water contamination from salts and naturally occurring radioactive materials, such as uranium, radium and radon from the rapidly expanding fracking industry, according to the report.

The new findings and recommendations come amid significant controversy over the benefits and environmental risks associated with fracking. The practice, which involves pumping fluids underground into shale formations to release pockets of natural gas that are then pumped to the surface, creates jobs and promotes energy independence, but also produces a substantial amount of wastewater.

In May, Chevron and ExxonMobil shareholders filed proposals asking the companies to disclose risks to their operations and finances from hydraulic fracturing. But fracking has also had major consequences in the UK. In spring 2012 one of the first fracking operations in England caused two earthquakes at Preese Hall, close to Blackpool. The earthquakes measured 2.3 and 1.5 on the Richter scale.

Blackpool fracking earthquake

Fracking caused an earthquake near Blackpool, UK.

Doreen Stopforth from Lancashire voiced her concerns to The Guardian. “For us, personally, it’s a nightmare. They go for miles underground breaking the shale and then we found out that the backflow – the chemicals and the water that comes out – is only 25% of what they put in. Where is it going? They say it won’t leak into the aquifer – how do they know? I just don’t trust them. What do they leave behind? We don’t know if the land is going to be soured.”

If you are worried about the quality of your drinking water, book a free water test with Aquatec today. We have a water purification process which is unique to the brand and creates water so sure that even a new born baby could drink it.

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Fracking Threatens UK Water

Posted on: April 25th, 2012 by admin No Comments

Opponents of hydraulic fracturing have written into the Guardian to complain about fracking getting the ‘green light’ in the UK.

Having read the Guardian’s Gas Fracking gets the Green Light article which was published on April 17, 2012, Marion Watson of Sheffield wrote to say that: “It beggars belief that fracking is recommended to be extended and earthquakes are the only risks that are taken into account.”

While in the past the risks of fracking may only have been theoretical, they are now very much real as a number of rural areas in the US have had their water supplies contaminated by fracking.

Fracking threatens UK

Fracking threatens UK water

While fracking has helped the US to become almost self reliant in terms of producing its own energy, environmentalists wonder about the impact that this has on groundwater, in both the US and the
UK, where fracking is also becoming increasingly popular.

But there have been cases of people finding that the water from their kitchen tap is dangerous and unusable due to methane contamination (which also raises the risk of explosions in a kitchen).

And with Britain suffering from a drought, can we risk polluting what remaining sources of water we have? In the hydraulic fracturing process around 2-3m gallons of water are used for each well, which can be fracked up to 18 times.

Furthermore fracking has an aesthetic consideration as it would involve numerous well heads spread out over the gas fields which, unlike wind turbines, carry the risk of toxic emissions.

If you are worried about the quality of your drinking water, why not purchase a home water purification system from Aquatec Bristol? Our pure water consultants have over 18 years experience in the field and we can guarantee up to 98% purity in your drinking water, creating water so pure that even a new born baby could drink it. Contact us today and we will call you back.

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Could Fracking Contaminate UK Groundwater?

Posted on: February 14th, 2012 by admin No Comments

Advances in technology have helped boost the growth of gas shale drilling in the United States over the past few years.

‘Fracking’, as it is known, has helped the United States to become almost self reliant in energy; lowering the price of gas for the largest energy user in the world.

But as this new art of releasing the natural gas embedded in shale rock deep below the Earth’s surface has expanded, it has obviously raised concerns. Environmentalists and concerned citizens wonder about the impact that this type of drilling for gas has on the environment, especially on UK groundwater.

Water Contamination Concerns

The concerns about the possible contamination of UK groundwater come from the essential part of the process called hydraulic fracturing, which in combination with the horizontal drilling techniques pioneered in the US, is an essential part of the shale gas production process.

The shale rock in which the gas is trapped (in small pockets) is so solid that it has to be ‘fractured’ in order to help the gas reach the surface. Called ‘fracking fluid’, a combination of water and sand laced with a cocktail of chemical compounds which the various drilling companies are reticent of detailing, is pumped into the gas shale at very high pressures, shattering the rock and opening millions of tiny little fissures. When this happens, a small earthquake is produced by the pressurised injection of this ‘fracking fluid’, fracturing the gas shale around the horizontal pipeline.

fracking contaminates water

Fracking could cause UK water concerns

The gas trapped inside the shale is now released and makes its way to the surface along with approximately half of this chemical cocktail called ‘fracking fluid’, plus huge quantities of mud and rock. The rest of this ‘fracking fluid’ remains deep underground, and there is part of the concern, no one really knows what happens to it?

Fracking in the UK

From there, if the possible UK scenario is similar to the US experience, the gas is piped to nearby compressor stations that purify it and prepare it to be piped (and sometimes transported in liquefied form) to power plants, manufacturers, and ultimately, domestic customers.

Volatile organic compounds (carbon-based gaseous substances with a variety of detrimental health effects) and other dangerous chemicals are burned off directly into the air during this on-site compression process. Meanwhile, the returned ‘fracking fluid’, now conveniently called wastewater, is either transported off or stored in large – open-air – membrane lined pits – on site, where it is allowed to evaporate. ‘Fracking’ is an energy-and resource-intensive process. Again, if the UK experience will be similar to the US, every individual shale-gas drilling site that is ‘fracked’ requires between three and eight million gallons of water. Huge transport fleets have to make hundreds of trips to carry this ‘fracking fluid’ to and from each drilling site.

It’s this injection of ‘fracking fluid’, a chemical cocktail with possible unknown health effects, and the shattering of the geological strata; that raises concerns about the possible contamination of UK groundwater. If the rock strata that contains the groundwater lie within the vicinity of the shale gas deposit, then the possibility of potential contamination from this chemical cocktail (and the gas itself?) must be a huge risk. Is the possible contamination of the UK’s groundwater for cheaper energy bills worth this health risk?

Shale Gas Deposits

Just like the United States, it seems that the UK has extensive shale gas deposits (deep underground) sweeping right across the country. So what could be the potential health implications if fields of gas drilling wells were suddenly to appear across our green and pleasant land? This is the crux of the problem, the concerns of many NGOs lobbying to either halt or at least slow down this type of drilling in the UK, because no one really knows!

If we only experience a fraction of the ‘fracking’ experience in the United States then we could be entering a situation where we all have to be highly suspicious of our drinking water.

Unlike the United States, the UK has a far better water supply situation with the various water supply companies extensively filtering our drinking water and obviously monitoring for any contaminants that may be of concern. But is this enough?

Unanswered Questions About Fracking

• We don’t know what chemical cocktail is used in this ‘fracking fluid’? (the drilling companies concerned say that their particular ‘fracking cocktails’ are ‘commercially sensitive secrets’).
• We don’t know what ‘other’ chemical compounds may be in the shale gas itself, some may have health implications years in the future?
• We don’t know how these minor earthquakes will damage the ability of the rock strata to hold our groundwater?
• We don’t even know ‘if’ our water supply companies ‘can’ remove every chemical compound that may appear from this particular type of possible groundwater contamination?

This is the concern. Exploratory drilling companies are being granted licenses to drill (just look at Blackpool for an example) across the UK, before the possible chance of contamination of our communal drinking water can be explored and evaluated. Even ‘if’ our water companies ‘can’ filter out the possible contamination for the main centres of population throughout the UK, what’s going to happen to the people and businesses not on the main water supply network? Other people or parts of the environment that may be affected are:

• Residents that get their house-hold water from bore-holes.
• Villages and outlying hamlets which have always relied on traditional supplies from ancient springs and artesian wells which have historically supplied them with relatively clean water.
• The farming community that use huge amounts of groundwater to produce our food.
• Fisheries and fish farms that rely on the height of the water table and therefore the groundwater itself.
• Rivers, lakes and wet-places that are just starting to recover from the contamination over the years since our industrial revolution.

This possible contamination of our shared water supply could lead to the scenario where no one trusts the tap water anymore. A situation that has not been seen for an awfully long time in the UK. A situation that may lead to everybody having their own filtration and water purification system in their own home, filtering their incoming mains water, not just relying on their water company to provide clean, safe drinking water.

Water purification companies like Aquatec Rainsoft Ltd of Bristol are already on the case, developing water purification systems for the normal house-hold as well as systems for businesses; to mitigate any contamination that may be present by removing ‘every’ chemical compound from the water supply, and then replacing the essential electrolytes for human health. An Aquatec Rainsoft Ltd spokesperson said today that “Aquatec Rainsoft Ltd prides itself on providing clean, safe, and fresh drinking water for any situation. Tailored to suit most people’s home, business, and budget. We have looked at the possible situation that may arise concerning fracking, and have developed filtration and purification systems that are second to none in their ability to provide the best possible water from whatever the supply.”

If you want a free water test, contact Aquatec today.

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