Of the 3 million gallons plus water that accompanies the sand and chemicals to perform the frack, around 30% returns to the surface. Where the remaining 70% goes to is uncertain according to the industry. The shale layer is millions of years old and contains a wide variety of chemicals as well as bubbles of gas to be released by fracking.
What goes down the pipe during the ‘frack’ is regulated by the Environment Agency so that our water sources and as a result, our drinking water is protected from toxins.
What comes back up is a bit of a lottery.
we are told not always to look to the USA or other countries abroad. Can we, in Yorkshire, look to the experience of Lancashire? Will the Isle of Wight off the South Coast be able to look to the North of England for evidence?
The EA looked at the composition of the returning water. To reassure us perhaps, they compared it to the Dead Sea. (There is a clue in the name!)
The EA is not interested in the re-use of the ‘water’ until such time as it becomes ‘waste’ then it is tested for its chemistry and radioactivity and regulated.
I do hope the ‘water’ is checked on its return and before it is re-used to ensure it accords to the overall requirement of the EA for fracking chemicals.
This waste ‘water’ is one of the big headaches for the industry. They prefer the cheap option of injecting it deep underground. To clean it up proves expensive and then there is the radioactivity to deal with.
Judge for yourself. Do you want this to pass your groundwater or aquifers?
As a comparison we are using the figures for the water from United Utilities in the detailed table (below). It is a typical analysis for mains tap water in the Singleton area.
In addition to the heavy metals and salts there are the BTEX chemicals (Benzene Toluene Ethylbenzene and Xylene) as well as complex organic compounds and a mixed chemistry from the result of adding heat and pressure to the fracking chemicals and the shale chemicals with a pinch of radioactivity for seasoning.
Not surprising that Yale University found the water water to be both toxic and carcinogenic.