It is just too easy…
As I prepare for my talk tomorrow on fracking and groundwater (a talk I have given two times already), I figured what better topic to start my new webpage blog on?
Fracking operation Alberta CanadaFracking, the colloquial term for hydraulic fracturing, is in headlines on a daily basis. Landowners, governments, environmental groups are all making headlines, one way or the other. The ones that are quiet are the oil and gas companies and fracking companies. Probably because they can’t keep up with the headlines posted by these groups with headlines of their own… maybe they are lying low to see what all shakes down.
Fracking is an interesting topic that and in my mind is all a big misunderstanding. Fracking is an excellent technology that has been used for a long time and effectively frees up our reserves for production. It creates jobs and tax dollars and we all benefit. Fracking, when done properly, is likely very safe. Key part of last statement, when done properly… Do mistakes happen? Is every frack perfect? With feverish growth in the fracking industry, the flood of service providers, the number of proprietary products, who is making sure that things are always going as planned? This intense competition for work, can’t possibly impact quality of the work, could it?
The residents living around these activities feel quite helpless. They are assured that the fracturing that is occurring near their homes (and sometimes life savings) is way below the water table, yet their houses are sometimes shaking due to low seismic from the hydraulic fracturing. They are assured that nothing is getting in the drinking water but the seismic may be dirtying their well (sand and soil coming in the well screens) or the press is showing people lighting their tap water on fire.
Some positive stakeholder engagement is needed to reverse the negativity surrounding the process of fracking. The companies doing the fracking need to stop being silent or just saying that they are following government regulations and take accountability. If the hydraulic fracturing cannot possibly impact groundwater, then it really shouldn’t be an issue to monitor local residents water wells for potential ingredients in the frack fluids before and after the frack. The components of the frack fluids will also need to be disclosed. The shroud of secrecy does not help build confidence and acceptance of the technology; it simply puts everybody’s back up.
Slideshare presentation: Fracking up drinking water water-tech2012