Fracking is a type of gas drilling that injects millions of gallons of hydraulic fluids - a mixture of chemicals, water and sand - into a well to create pressure that cracks open rock underground, releasing natural gas. This process can deplete and contaminate local water, damage the environment and threaten public health.
Fracking is a threat because it can deplete and contaminate local water. Since the fluids contain toxic chemicals, they can damage human health and the environment if they make their way into local water supplies through leaks, spills or underground injection.
After fracking, some water flows back up the well along with the gas. This wastewater is difficult to dispose of safely because it may contain toxic fracking chemicals, as well as dissolved solids it picks up underground, some of which may be radioactive. And, methane freed up because of the fracking can make its way through the ground into household wells, which can cause wells and houses to explode because it is highly flammable.
Although the industry argues that fracking is safe, there have been numerous documented cases of water contamination near drilling sites. This is a concern for many communities around the country that have seen a recent increase in drilling using these methods. Starting with the Barnett Shale, in Texas, drillers have turned their attention to shales in Michigan, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Louisiana. The Marcellus Shale, which covers parts of Pennsylvania, New York, Ohio, Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky and Maryland, has attracted the most attention.
The government must protect public water from damage from hydraulic fracturing for natural gas. Join Food & Water Watch and urge Congress to put a national ban on fracking in place.