What the Frack Is Going On Here?!!
If you do not know what fracking is, it is the process of drilling down to a gas containing rock level, then using high pressure to spray a toxic chemical cocktail known as fracking fluid at the rock to release the gas inside. Then, water, sand and chemicals are injected into the rock at high pressure which allows the gas to flow out to the head of the well.
Of course, after the process of extracting the gas is complete, the fluid needs to be “gotten rid of”.
The problem is that, while companies using fracking fluid have resisted disclosing the contents of fracking fluid, claiming the information is proprietary, samples from well sites indicate that the fluid contains: formaldehyde, acetic acids, citric acids, and boric acids, among hundreds of other contaminants.
So what to do with all this waste? Sell it to a drought stricken area like California so they can continue growing the nation’s organic veggies!
Per US News and World Report when waste from fracking wells gets into the local water supply, health problems spike. Please note that the long term effects of exposure to these chemicals are not being tested.
For example, per USNews.com it is easily determined that short term exposure to well water contaminated by this causes spikes in health problems for residents:
Over two years, they surveyed and then analyzed the responses from 492 people in Washington County, a rural stretch in southwestern Pennslvania that has more than 600 active gas wells drilling into the region’s enormous Marcellus Shale. The study focused on residents with ground-fed water wells.
The findings: Among those living within a kilometer of the wells, 13 percent reported skin problems like irritation, burning, itching and hair loss, and 39 percent said they had sinus problems, sore throats, itchy eyes and nose bleeds.
Toxic wastewater from fracking is often stored in so-called “tailings ponds,” and chemicals that evaporate from the pond – or leak into the drinking supply – may have been a factor adding to residents’ health issues, researchers say.
Those living more than 2 kilometers away, by contrast, reported far fewer symptoms: just 6 percent said they had skin problems, and only 18 percent said they had upper respiratory issues.
Check out more about how California’s drought is driving farmers to extreme measures below:
by Kevin Mathews
Farmers Growing Crops With Oil Wastewater Out of Desperation
Amidst a crippling drought, Californians should be applauded for devising new ways to conserve and recycle the state’s limited water supply. However, environmentalists are hardly excited about one of the newer “solutions,” namely Chevron selling its leftover wastewater to nearby farmers. How do you feel about having the food you eat being grown with the untreated water from oil excavation?
There’s definitely reason for concern. Given that drilling and fracking rely on a lot of chemicals, sending this tainted water — a total of 21 million gallons per day — to Kern County for farming raises the potential that these dangerous toxins will wind up in the food we eat. While most scientists aren’t prepared to say that recycling oil wastewater for agriculture is definitely unsafe until tests are done, it is disconcerting that the state is allowing this transferal to occur without conducting much research.
As the LA Times points out, testing the contents of oil wastewater has been a “low priority” for the government in recent years despite evidence that it seeps into local water supplies. Unsurprisingly, oil companies have successfully lobbied to have fewer tests conducted on this wastewater. In fact, when the water is tested, the government looks for toxins found commonly in nature like arsenic, not the kinds of dangerous compounds that get used while drilling for oil. However, now that the wastewater is used directly on crops for human consumption, it seems especially pertinent to verify the safety of this water.
The newspaper spoke to scientist Scott Smith, who had decided to run some tests of his own. Collecting samples of the drilling wastewater en route to farms, Smith found traces of oil as well as high concentrations of methylene choloride (considered a carcinogen) and acetone in the water. While Chevron denies that it uses either of those compounds, they will not reveal what kind of chemicals can be found in wastewater since the government has helped them classify this mess as a “trade secret.” The company is willing to say that it’s safe, though.
Forget the unknown entities in the water, though. Even what the farmers know is in the wastewater isn’t good for their crops. This leftover water is excessively salty. In less than ideal conditions, farmers would mix the wastewater with fresh water to try to lower its salt content. However, in these current dire drought conditions, farmers don’t even have enough fresh water to mix with the salty wastewater. Instead, they have to use it as is and hope that rainwater will take care of the extra salt.
Alas, there’s not much rainwater to be found in a drought – which is why farms are in this predicament in the first place. Since salt makes soil barren, this wastewater is liable to kill this farmland anyway with or without the help of toxic chemicals.
Meanwhile, oil companies have found a way to profit off the drought. Normally, they have to pay a bunch to dispose of the wastewater, but since water is in such high demand currently, they can now sell their leftovers for $30 per acre-foot. It’s unfathomable that they’re selling tainted water – at the very least they should be giving away that sludge for free!
At the end of the day, it’s ridiculous that farmers have to take the sloppy seconds from oil corporations in the first place. We already know the dangers that drilling and oil pose to the environment, so why does a company like Chevron get first dibs on that water? If a drought is limiting our water supply, Chevron should have to pay for recycled water – or better yet, receive no water at all! That’ll help the state to avoid the controversy of using oil-tainted water to grow food altogether.
Read more: here
Featured image courtesy greenthoughts.us