A huge supply of natural gas lives beneath the surface of the earth. Drilling companies have adopted a new method known as hydraulic fracturing or "fracking" to extract the gas. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), by 2020, more than 20 percent of the nation's gas supply will be shale gas.
Hydraulic fracturing refers to high pressure injections of water, chemical additives and sand that are used to fracture solid rock formations that live above the gas. The fractures in the rocks create pathways that enable the gas to escape into the wells and the sand is used to settle into the cracks, keeping the fractures open.
Concerns over Water Contamination
Although fracking allows drilling companies to tap into the natural gas supply, there have been concerns over the safety of the technique. Environmentalists and people living near the gas wells have complained that the chemicals used in the process have contaminated local water supplies. Residents are demanding tighter regulations.
The types and amounts of chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing are rarely disclosed. However, some of the chemicals that are known to be used such as diesel fuel have been linked to an increase in the risk of cancer and other dangerous health risks. These risks have led both environmentalists and people living near the wells to question the quality of their drinking water.
When the liquid is injected into the rocks, some of the chemicals used are left behind. The fear is that the chemicals might reach and contaminate underground water supplies. Local residents have already complained of signs of contamination, which include:
- Cloudy water
- Smell of diesel fuel or petroleum
- Black or gray sediments in the water
- Particles floating in the water
- Rashes and skin irritations from showering
Health risks might include cancer, acute myelogenous leukemia, acute lymphocytic leukemia, respiratory disease, reproduction problems, headaches, dizziness, drowsiness, vomiting, skin rashes and death.
Schedule a Free Case Review
If you live near a well and believe that you've been harmed by contaminated water, we may be able to help you. Contact Flood Law Group to schedule a free review of your case with a hydraulic fracturing attorney.