What the Frack is in My Water? Cleaning Fluids?
The natural gas industry likes to say hydraulic fracturing - or “fracking” - fluids are made up of products you find under your kitchen sink. The thing is, though, do you really want those cleaning products in your drinking water?
Today ProPublica is out with a new interactive feature that lists fracking ingredients – everything from extremely hazardous materials such as sulfuric acid, lead, benzene, and hydrochloric acid – to even bizarre things like instant coffee and starch.
In any case, the natural gas industry likes to say that these ingredients make up a very small portion of the fracking fluid cocktail - sometimes even as low as .01%. But when they are using five million gallons per fracked well, that still means 50,000 gallons of any of these dangerous chemicals are passing right through your drinking water aquifer.
We need to keep our water safe – the natural gas industry must disclose just what it’s using to frack and in what quantities. Currently, the chemicals used in the fracking process are kept secret from the public, medical professionals, and even regulators, because fracking is exempt from a key provision of the Safe Drinking Water Act.
Until there are adequate water protections in place, we will fight for the rights of every landowner to know what’s being pumped below their feed. There must be universal full disclosure requirements of all chemicals used in the fracking process. Irresponsible drillers must be held accountable for any water contamination they cause.
Fracking can’t be done safely under current conditions. We need state and federal agencies to take action and stand up for clean water. They must close the loopholes that threaten our water and public health.
The industry states there’s no chance for these solutions to come in contact with your drinking water. Then why are they so afraid to list these chemicals? Disclosure of chemicals should be required, well by well and to each and every landowner who has a well on their property. If it’s so safe, then what are they trying to hide?
-- Deb Nardone, Director of the Sierra Club Natural Gas Reform Campaign