There are many environmental reasons fracking is not viable… usually I hear about this in terms of anecdotes. I’ve been wondering about the water aspects of this for a while, not just thinking about the pollution of water but just basic water consumption and wastewater disposal.
I have been wondering for a while what the water impact issues might be if people were to frack a lot. Well, each frack episode takes at least 4 million gallons of water, from what I’ve read. There are 1.10111712 x 10^12 gallons of water in Lake Erie, one of the largest bodies of fresh water on the planet. That’s over a trillion gallons of water. However, when you divide it by a single frack episode (4 million gallons), that comes to 275,280 frack episodes that could be supplied by a Lake Erie-sized lake of water. Each well might be fracked 10 times during its active cycle.
Considering that the fracking part of the energy industry wants to build thousands of wells and each well could be fracked multiple times, that’s a great concern.
For one thing, it’s an agricultural concern–the water cannot easily be used again once it is used for fracking. It’s been injected into injection wells because it comes back highly dirty.
I feel that we can use a little bit of gas to power our cooking needs and some home heating, but to expand its use to electrical generation plants would be stupid.
According to this article (http://shaleshock.org/drilling-101/), around 550 truck trips would be needed to haul water to a well and wastewater from a well for a single frack episode if the episode would take 2 million gallons of water (a conservative estimate). A four million gallon episode would take 1100 truck trips.
One has to wonder how it could even be a viable thing for the fracking industry.
About half of the fracking water used in an episode remains underground. Half of it comes back up as wastewater and has to be disposed of, hopefully as safely as possible. Ohio has been accepting fracking wastewater into its Class II injection wells. They’re wells that go into formations underground. According to this article (http://www.fractracker.org/2013/06/oh-waste-network/), Ohio’s Class II capacity could accept up to 1.4 billion gallons of frack wastewater if it were fully utilized, and that taking that much water out of the environment would profoundly affect surface water volumes and flows.
We’ve over 500 permitted fracking wells in Ohio. If all of them were to be active that could create 10 billion gallons of wastewater. So I don’t even know how it could be viable–there’s nowhere to put it.