Fracking and Water Supply

30 August 2013

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.  

Local communities have come out to protest due to the risk of contamination of the water supply and other environmental concerns. The local population’s reliance on water for their homes and local businesses means that any risk of contamination is taken very seriously.

We decided to take a look at the issues surrounding this controversial issue:

What is Fracking?

Hydraulic fracturing or fracking is a technique designed to recover gas and oil from shale rock. The process involves fracturing rocks deep underground with a combination of water and chemicals in order to extract natural gas. Water, sand and chemicals are pumped into the ground at a high enough pressure to cause the rock to split and the gas to then flow out.

fracking and water diagram

From the BBC News Website

The BBC website offers a detailed overview of the process including an insightful video.

Concerns About Fracking 

Fracking has dramatically cut the cost of energy bills in the USA and is seen as part of the solution for the UK’s energy issues. However, there are a number of environmental concerns. The huge amount of water that must be transported to the fracking site carries in itself a significant environmental cost as well as the following issues:


Fracking and Water Contamination 

Many people see the widespread use of fracking in the US and the reports of water contamination as evidence that it is a bad idea with potentially disastrous consequences in the UK.

Fracking and related activities have been shown to contaminate groundwater supplies in the US. Chemicals used in the process are found to enter the drinking water supply along with methane. In the United States high methane levels and benzene levels have been found in the water supply following fracking in the area. The levels of these properties exceed what is safe to drink and also have more dramatic and scary results including flammable water…

Water On Fire Video

In the North East of the UK, where extensive fracking is planned, 14% of the area’s public water is supplied from groundwater aquifers which could be at risk from contamination.

The Frack Off campaign group vocally opposes fracking for this among other reasons:

“Fracking is a nightmare! Toxic and radioactive water pollution. Tap water you can set on fire. Earthquakes. Runaway climate change. To produce expensive gas that will soon run out.”

Commenting in the Daily Telegraph, Professor Robert Mair said that “baseline monitoring is vital since methane can be present in groundwater naturally. Collecting this valuable data will be the only way of keeping close track of the environmental impacts of fracking in situ,” . It is down to the shale gas companies to make these meticulous reports.


Earth Tremors 

There are also concerns that the fracking process can cause small earth tremors. Two small earthquakes of 1.5 and 2.2 magnitude were recorded in the Blackpool area in 2011 following fracking. At Aquatec we reported some of the first drilling for shale gas near Blackpool back in 2011.

It is believed that these tremors are unlikely to be felt by people nor cause any damage.

More Fracking Puns!

On a more light-hearted note, the word fracking has seen a raft of puns both in tabloid newspapers and the protesting public.

Fracking Puns

Aquatec – the Pure Water People

There are already too many harmful chemicals in our water supply so any potential for yet further contamination needs to be avoided. One way to make sure of this is with an Aquatec water purification system.

Here at Aquatec – the Pure Water People we understand the importance of pure water. Our home water purification systems purify water to incredible levels of purity. Read about the scientific process that allows us to achieve such amazing results here.

Fracking is just another way in which impurities can enter into our drinking water and potentially do damage to the health of our families. If you want to speak to one of our team about all the benefits of an Aquatec system then simply fill out this enquiry form or call us now on 0117 9109988.