Author Archives: Timothy

…Gas Wells’ Tainted Water Hits Rivers

A thorough article from the NY Times on contaminated water (from drilling) in public water sources.
Quoting from the article:

“…Dangers to the environment and health are greater than previously understood.”

“With hydrofracking, a well can produce over a million gallons of wastewater that is often laced with highly corrosive salts, carcinogens like benzene and radioactive elements like radium, all of which can occur naturally thousands of feet underground. Other carcinogenic materials can be added to the wastewater by the chemicals used in the hydrofracking itself.”

“The documents reveal that the wastewater, which is sometimes hauled to sewage plants not designed to treat it and then discharged into rivers that supply drinking water, contains radioactivity at levels higher than previously known, and far higher than the level that federal regulators say is safe for these treatment plants to handle”

“…Radioactivity in drilling waste cannot be fully diluted in rivers and other waterways.”

“Drillers trucked at least half of this waste to public sewage treatment plants in Pennsylvania in 2008 and 2009, according to state officials. Some of it has been sent to other states, including New York and West Virginia.”

“Gas has seeped into underground drinking-water supplies in at least five states, including Colorado, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas and West Virginia, and residents blamed natural-gas drilling.

Air pollution caused by natural-gas drilling is a growing threat, too. Wyoming, for example, failed in 2009 to meet federal standards for air quality for the first time in its history partly because of the fumes containing benzene and toluene from roughly 27,000 wells, the vast majority drilled in the past five years.”

“In Texas, which now has about 93,000 natural-gas wells, up from around 58,000 a dozen years ago, a hospital system in six counties with some of the heaviest drilling said in 2010 that it found a 25 percent asthma rate for young children, more than three times the state rate of about 7 percent.”

“Smelling like raw sewage mixed with gasoline, drilling-waste pits, some as large as a football field, sit close to homes.”

“More than 1.3 billion gallons of wastewater was produced by Pennsylvania wells over the past three years, far more than has been previously disclosed. Most of this water — enough to cover Manhattan in three inches — was sent to treatment plants not equipped to remove many of the toxic materials in drilling waste.”

“Of more than 179 wells producing wastewater with high levels of radiation, at least 116 reported levels of radium or other radioactive materials 100 times as high as the levels set by federal drinking-water standards. At least 15 wells produced wastewater carrying more than 1,000 times the amount of radioactive elements considered acceptable.”

“A confidential industry study from 1990, conducted for the American Petroleum Institute, concluded that “using conservative assumptions,” radium in drilling wastewater dumped off the Louisiana coast posed “potentially significant risks” of cancer for people who eat fish from those waters regularly.”

Toxic Cocktail injected into our Earth for the financial gain of a few

A happy little list of TOXIC chemicals coming to the ground near you…

Quoting just a few from the Register Herald Article:

Propanol. Complexor.
Hazardous chemical class 3. Highly flammable. Harmful by inhalation and if swallowed. Irritating to eyes and skin.

Boric Acid.
Poison. Chronic poisoning occurs in those who are repeatedly exposed to boric acid. Once used to disinfect and treat wounds, patients who received such treatment repeatedly got sick, and some died.

Boric Oxide.
Causes severe irritation of upper respiratory tract with coughing, burns, breathing difficulty and possible coma. May cause kidney injury

Disodium Octaborate Tetrahydrate.
Affects the gastrointestinal tract, skin, vascular system and brain

Hydrochloric Acid.
Ingestion may be fatal. Liquid can cause severe damage to skin and eyes. Threshold Limit Value — 5 ppm. Lethal to fish from 25 mg/l or more. Toxic for aquatic organisms due to pH shift.

Muriatic Acid.
Exposure to higher levels can cause breathing difficulties, narrowing of the bronchioles, blue colour of the skin, accumulation of fluid in the lungs and death

Tetramethyl ammonium chloride.
May be fatal if swallowed. Causes dizziness, nausea, shortness of breath, severe hypotension, shock. A known ganglionic blocking agent, causing vasodilation, and curare-like actions, peripheral nerve damage, cardiac paralysis, dyspnea, effects, hypotension.

Envirnonmental concerns about “fracking” Hydraulic Fracture Natural Gas Drilling

Quoting from the Register Herald Article…

Environmental concerns related to fracking include concerns about groundwater quality, surface contamination and possible induced seismic activity. Further, the long-term effects of fracking have not been fully studied.

Natural fractures occurring in the shale are typically vertical. By drilling horizontally, the wells are more likely to intersect natural fracture patterns to take advantage of fracture networks in the shale, increasing the volume of gas extracted from a single site.

Register Herald Article: Marcellus Gas Drilling…not economic development if it destroys our water and our air

Quoting from the Article…

The effects aren’t limited to scenery and rural countrysides, some have warned. Sara Wood, a Wetzel County resident and registered nurse, lives on property surrounded by natural gas wells and a compression station. She recounted waking up to chemicals in her home one morning that she believes came from one of that gas operations.

“I have a little boy who is 3-years-old who woke me up one morning and said ‘Mom it stinks,’” Wood said. “I woke up and noticed the inside of the house was filled with fumes. I ran outside, grabbed him and I get hit with a wall of fumes. I looked over at a well site and saw a cloud coming over our house.”

John Chistensen, an advocate for the West Virginia Environmental Coalition, said the stakes are too high to “allow this industry to go unchecked.”

“It’s a classic example of bait and switch, where we sacrifice beautiful, rural farmland for huge industrial sites, complete with chemicals, huge water withdrawals and the inevitable disposal of frack water as it comes back to the surface,” Christensen said.

Chesapeake energy CEO on WV: “literacy issues” “low level of intelligence” (via the Charleston Gazette)

Quoting from their site:

First, he [Aubrey McClendon, CEO of Chesapeake Energy – the same company that destroyed a streambed with a waterfall in it while they ran an ad with a photo of a pristine waterfall implying they were environmentally friendly] blamed our judicial system for a decision that went against the company.

He excused the hiring of out-of-state workers by intimating that West Virginia workers have “literacy issues” and can’t pass the drug screenings.

Then he insulted the many people concerned about issues associated with horizontal drilling, stating that they had “a low level of intelligence about the issue.” It is difficult to imagine why Chesapeake even wants to operate in a state for which its leaders have such obvious contempt.

Read the article:

http://wvgazette.com/Opinion/201102161028

Earthquakes ocurring on the site of fracking byproduct injection wells

Excerpt:
A geohazards supervisor with the Arkansas State Geological Survey, Scott Ausbrooks, told the Associated Press that this Arkansas earthquake swarm could be related to natural gas exploration in the area. The area where the earthquakes have been occurring is part of the Fayetteville Shale–an area of rich organic rock in north-central Arkansas. The Fayetteville Shale area has more than 400 completed gas wells.

Source: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ac/20110218/tr_ac/7883826_arkansas_earthquake_swarm_could_be_related_to_natural_gas_injection_wells

Officials charge Gas Drilling Company with contaminating the Aquifer

(CBS/AP) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued an emergency order against a Texas gas driller Tuesday, accusing the company of contaminating an aquifer and giving it 48 hours to provide clean drinking water to affected residents and begin taking steps to resolve the problem….

…The EPA inspected the wells with the commission, Armendariz said, and found high levels of explosive methane, as well as other contaminants, including cancer-causing benzene.

See the full article here: http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2010/12/08/national/main7128797.shtml

Drilling companies inject 34 million gal of diesel into the ground – violating clean water law according to investigators

Over 30 million gallons of diesel fuel have been injected below the water table by 14 hydraulic fracture drilling companies.

Quoting from the New York Times article:
“We learned that no oil and gas service companies have sought — and no state and federal regulators have issued — permits for diesel fuel use in hydraulic fracturing,” said Representative Henry A. Waxman of California and two other Democratic members of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, in the letter. “This appears to be a violation of the Safe Drinking Water Act.”

I’m sure the people who stand to profit from drilling will find some way to explain how perfectly reasonable it is to do such a thing.

Read more: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/01/business/energy-environment/01gas.html

Frack Drilling Company to pay 4.1 million to Dimock PA for contaminating their water.

A major victory. For all the people who say that drilling doesn’t harm the water. What say you now?

Cabot Oil (of Dimock PA water contamination infamy), has agreed to pay the townspeople 4.1 million for the contamination of their water.

Whether by gas, or by chemicals, hydraulic fracturing DID contaminate the water of Dimock PA. But that can’t happen here, right? RIGHT?

Does no-one have any common sense today? The problem is not Cabot oil. The problem is: the hydraulic fracture process is inherently flawed. One cannot inject millions of gallons of contaminated water into the earth below the water table under immense pressure, to release the gas and then expect the water to not get contaminated!

Make no mistake about it. with over 30,000 wells stated for drilling in Marcellus shale, and the entire state of WV lying over the shale bed YOUR WATER IS NOT SAFE! The time to fight is now. Before they have ruined our water, destroyed our property values, and wrecked our roads and our scenic landscape.

Join the fight! It’s free, and your water is priceless.

See the Press Release from the State of PA:
http://www.portal.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt/community/newsroom/14287?id=15595&typeid=1

Low cost water quality monitoring device

I have been thinking for the last few weeks about real-time water quality monitoring conducted by private “watchdog” citizens in an area surrounding drilling. This wouldnt prevent catastrophe, but it would provide an early warning system.
It seems to me the least complicated & cheapest method would be to monitor the conductivity of the water. Higher conductivity means more dissolved solids in the water.

I am thinking if we can get the cost of these things down to 200-300, who wouldn’t put one in their well for
Their own peace of mind .

In my research, I came across this interesting piece of equipment.

TDS/conductivity meter: (I am posting
This from my phone and I can’t make it
an active link using my phone)

http://www.jencostore.com/jenco-3010k-conductivity-salinity-tds-temp-portable-meter-kit.html?gclid=CIyby5_-y6MCFeQD5Qod-HYMsw

The only question as yet unanswered: does it alarm when TDS crosses a threshold.