As California farmers face a fourth year of the state’s historic drought, they’re finding water in unexpected places — like Chevron’s Kern River oil field, which has been selling recycled wastewater from oil production to farmers in California’s Kern County. Each day, Chevron recycles and sells 21 million gallons of wastewater to farmers, which is then applied on about 10 percent of Kern County’s farmland.
According to the findings of a study recently published in the “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences”, trace amounts of 2-Butoxyethanol (2-BE), a chemical compound used in drilling fluid (and can also be found in cosmetics and household paint), were found in the drinking water of three Pennsylvanian homes; a finding which only adds to the growing concern that fracking poses risks to public health.
The New York Times reported that although the study researchers at Pennsylvania State University said the drinking water samples contained traces of the chemical, the traces they did find were only tiny concentrations and posed no immediate health risk. However, the fact that the contamination exists at all has the environmental scientists questioning the integrity of frack wells in the Marcellus Shale.
The Marcellus Shale is an enormous subterranean natural gas field and the largest source of natural gas in America. The three homes where the 2-BE was found in the drinking water are located in Bradford County, Pennsylvania, close to gas wells, which were built in 2009 over the Marcellus formation.
The oils and gas industry has long maintained that due to the fact that fracking takes place thousands of feet under drinking water aquifers, the injected drilling chemicals used to break up rocks to release the trapped gas, pose no health risks.
That beings said, in this particular study, what the researchers note is that the contamination may not have come from the actual fracking process occurring far below the aquifers, but from the drill wells, caused by a lack of integrity.
Scott Anderson, a senior policy analyst with the Environment Defense fund, said that well integrity was typically poor around 2008 and 2009, and that the industry has strengthened its practices since this time.
Anderson said that “Industry knows how to construct wells properly, but the fact is that they don’t always do so.” He added that “My hope would be that papers like this will encourage industry and its regulators to do a better job of doing what they already know they are supposed to do.”
That being said, the fracking industry criticized the new study and said that the research provided no evidence that the chemical came from a nearby well.
Michael B Kelley and Jessica Orwig in The Business Insider – May 5, 2015, 12:44 PM Vast deposits of natural gas have driven a drilling boom across 32 states. Although the boom is helping the US generate more energy on…
Over the past 20 years, in the United States there have been dramatic increases in the occurrence of autism and certain forms of cancer; the cause for this increase is unknown.
With over 85,000 chemicals in use today, man-made toxins have spread throughout the environment affecting air and water quality like never before. The vast majority of these chemicals have unknown effects upon our health. Many contaminants found in drinking water (tap or bottled) across the nation have been linked to numerous forms of cancer, developmental effects, learning disabilities, parasitic infections, and intestinal illnesses.
Safe drinking water is of utmost importance for children, infants, and unborn fetuses; they are especially sensitive to chemicals that are often found in public water. Water is the fundamental nutrient in your body and water quality is critical for every bodily function, even down to the cellular level.
The Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA), originally passed by Congress in 1974 to protect public health by regulating the nation’s public drinking water supply, is the main federal law that ensures the quality of Americans’ drinking water.