The topic of fracking seems to be coming up more and more these days and sure, I can hold my weight in a 3 minute conversation about it, but in no way have I ever been left feeling 100% confident I know exactly what the frack everyone is on about! So I went on an information quest and this is what I came up with.
Let’s start with the basics like the definition:
- the process of injecting liquid (usually water mixed with sand and chemicals) at high pressure into subterranean rocks, boreholes, etc. so as to force open existing fissures and extract oil or gas.
Just by definition it sounds invasive, but I knew I was going to have to be objective during this quest in order to find out all the facts and make an informative decision as to whether I’m “for” or “against”.
So let’s break this down, as the definition implies, fracking is the extraction of natural gases or oil by fracturing the layers of shale by means of hydraulics. 2.4 to 7.8 million gallons of water is added to +- 40,000 gallons of chemicals and used during this process, to put that in perspective for you the gallon/litre conversion is 1 Gallon to 3.78541 litres!
The list of chemicals used is longer than my arm but here are a few, Hydrochloric Acid, Ethylene Glycol, Triethanolamine Zirconate, Methanol, Lauryl Sulfate, uranium, lead, mercury and the list goes on, and honestly they all sound a little frightening but mainly because I have no idea what many of them are or what they do, so I will hold any judgement for now due to ignorance.
To continue, once all the fracking has taken place there are geologic formation pressures that force up the “fracking water”, this is then meant to be stored and treated…. never to contaminate.
This is where my investigation got a little shady, and my impartial views began to diminish.
Site after site I stumbled onto terms such as:
“Fracturing fluid migration into drinking water aquifers”
“Waste water transportation accidents”
“Possible environmental impacts include ground water contamination, methane greenhouse gas fugitive emissions, waste water handling, and even potential earthquakes”
Not to mention these fun fracking facts:
- There have been over 1,000 documented cases of water contamination next to areas of gas drilling as well as cases of sensory, respiratory, and neurological damage due to ingested contaminated water.
- The waste fluid is left in open air pits to evaporate, releasing harmful VOC’s (volatile organic compounds) into the atmosphere, creating contaminated air, acid rain etc.
- Methane concentrations are 17 times higher in drinking-water wells near fracturing sites than in normal wells.
- Approximately 40,000 gallons of chemicals are used per fracturing.
- Up to 600 chemicals are used in fracking fluid
Explain to me why again is South Africa considering this?!!
Let’s bring South Africa in to this equation, where are we on the fracking global debate? It will seem we are firmly in the exploration phase of fracking as reported on the 2014-03-23 on the News 24 website, the headlines read “Govt gives go-ahead for Karoo fracking” It states that this is going to be an “economic game changer” and I couldn’t agree more, I love job creation just as much as the next person but does the “economic Game Change” outweigh the impact to our environment? Well to be fair, we were not given a vote and neither were the residents of the Karoo.
So all we can all do now is wait and see what the results of the exploration fracking will bring and hope that our government is responsible enough to do what is right for our Beautiful Country and the people who live in it ….
And that is the conclusion of my quest, but don’t take my word for it, go do some investigation yourself, I personally may have got stuck on the negatives of Fracking, so bring us back some positives and we can thrash those out in another blog installment entitled “Why the Frack not!”
Until then 😉