Removing Fracking Fluid from Drinking Water
Huge reserves of natural gas have been discovered in no fewer than 30 states across the United States. Some sources say it is the equivalent of two Saudi Arabias in magnitude. This is excellent news for us. Or is it? The map is courtesy of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.
With improvements in technology, we can now extract this natural gas at costs that are reasonable to fuel our way of life for years to come.
The extraction process is known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. Natural gas companies extract natural gas from rock formations deep below the earth's surface using high pressure fluids.
Our ground water is located to a maximum estimated depth of no more than 1,200 ft below land surface. Hydraulic fracturing generally occurs 5,000-20,000 feet below the surface of the ground. This means that our ground water should be safe from any ill affects from fracturing, right?
Unfortunately, it's not quite that simple. While the natural gas is located at these depths, the drilling and pumping of fracking fluids down to those depths and back again can cause problems. Fracking fluids leak or there are accidents that happen in the course of drilling that spread fracking fluid to areas on the ground's surface.
While each driller has a slightly different mixture, many of the basic chemicals in fracking fluid include:
Per River Reporter, December 4-10, 2008 story "What's in that fracking fluid?"
What Can We Do to Protect Our Home's Water Supply From Fracking Fluids?
- First, know that there is a water filter solution for removing fracking fluids.
- These are scary looking names for substances that are harmful to your health. However, if you look at their general composition, the vast majority of these chemicals are organic compounds mixed in with a couple acids. This is great news!
- All of these substances can be removed by a reverse osmosis drinking water filter that typically filters down to .0001 microns, much smaller than any of these substances. What is not removed by the reverse osmosis membrane is pulled out by the carbon filters that are also part of a reverse osmosis system. So, armed with a reverse osmosis system, cheer on the addition of natural gas drilling as a viable and sustainable energy resource to fuel our country for many years to come.