Sunday, April 19, 2015

Fracking Chemicals Found in California Farm Area's Water Supply

By Brian Writt

In the case of the environment, fracking has been a very controversial topic among many people in the United States.  Unfortunately, not a lot of people have a great understanding what fracking actually is.  Fracking is a type of drilling technology that is used to dig deep into the ground to access natural gas resources that had been impossible to access beforehand.

At first glance, many people could make the argument that this is great for the US to access natural gas domestically, rather than relying on Middle Eastern suppliers, not only becasue it will lower the price of gasoline in America, but also becasue of the rising tensions in Middle Eastern countries, thanks to ISIS and other militant groups.  The problem is that fracking is extremely hazardous for the environment.  For example, there are studies being done in California that have confirmed many environmentalists' concerns that the waste from fracking is contaminating water supplies.

To unleash the oil or natural gas from the ground water, sand and various chemicals are needed to be blasted down into the drillholes.  The toxic water that's been used by the fracking machines have been injected back deep underground.  The chemicals found in the water are known to be extremely toxic and often lead to cancer. 

Many environmental groups such as the Environmental Working Group have put out documents proving the dangers of such chemicals being inserted back into the ground, but many oil and gas corporations are fighting against these reports.  There are laws in place that force the fracking companies to test their waste for any hazardous chemicals before putting them back into the earth, but there still have been many instances in which these chemicals have been discovered at alarming rates. 

In October of 2014 there had been many discoveries of oil and gas companies knowingly injecting three billion gallons of waste water back into the ground, which has found its way into California's drinking water and farm irrigation aquifers, according to an MSNBC report. 

The state was forced to shut down 23 of the couple hundred injecting sites statewide.  Aside from the public health scare that the wastewater has brought upon the citizens of California, fracking has also been linked to heightening the chance of earthquakes in the regions that they occupy since the rocks that they are drilling become unstable.  The dangers of fracking should emphasize the importance of the United States trying to discover alternatives to natural gas.  Not only is it hazardous for the people as a whole, but for the generations of humans that will inhabit the unstable surfaces that fracking is creating.

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