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Fracking and Fire Water

September 20, 2011

Fracking has allowed natural gas to be extracted from shale, which has resulted in cutting the price of natural gas by at least half, while also demonstrating that the United States has a 100-year supply of natural gas.

Extreme environmentalists are opposing fracking on the basis that fracking can contaminate water supplies.

Fracking usually takes place thousands of feet below the aquifer, with rock between where fracking takes place and the aquifer above it. Fracking injects water and chemicals under very high pressure to fracture the shale so that natural gas can flow from where it has been trapped to the drill pipe, and then inside the drill pipe to the surface, where it is contained, controlled and processed. (See article Fracking Risks and Benefits)

The movie Gasland has been shown in the United States and Europe and has been used to raise fears that fracking will contaminate drinking water.

One of the most dramatic scenes in the movie was where a homeowner lights the gas coming from the drinking water faucet. This picture of flaming natural gas coming from the water faucet was used to create the image that fracking allowed water to be contaminated by natural gas.

An investigative reporter, Phelim McAleer, was not convinced and sought additional factual information. His findings were reported in the September edition of Environment & Climate News.

McAleer found that there had been documented reports of natural gas in drinking water in 1976, and as far back as 1936.

This confirmed what people had been saying, which was that natural gas can invade water supplies naturally, and that this had been occurring long before fracking was an issue.

McAleer confronted the producer of Gasland, and asked him why there was no mention of natural gas having been found occurring naturally in drinking water in 1976 and, as it came out, as far back as 1936.

The exchange between McAleer and the producer can be seen in the video clip at:  

(I haven’t embedded this link because the website contains political information and I have no control over the content of the website beyond the clip.)

This information confirms that natural gas invades water systems naturally, and that there is no reason to blame fracking for natural gas in the water supply as shown in the movie, Gasland.

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7 Comments leave one →
  1. Mark permalink
    September 20, 2011 12:44 pm

    Morning Donn,

    I hate to think what the average cost of electricity would be for PG&E electrical customers if the price of natural gas hadn’t dropped as much as it has (the Average price is currently $.1858 kwh for e-1 electrical residential rate payers).

    A recent article- “Shale Gas Sector up to Fracking, Pipeline Challenge” was rather straightforward on the topic of natural gas vs. coal for our electrical power generation-

    “The energy sector is quietly divided. Those utilities that depend on coal to meet their daily demands say that they are unable to keep pace with pending environmental regulations. However, those power companies that are building natural gas plants say that the convergence of new rules along with ample shale deposits will give the country clean energy supplies for 100 years.”

  2. October 7, 2011 6:25 pm

    If natural gas invaded wells naturally then why was nobody getting sick or having their water catch on fire to the extent it is now before the fracking started? What about all the chemicals which aren’t ‘natural’ that are also injected? Once the fracking started people’s water immediately turned brown or black when it wasn’t before so yeah I think that fracking might have something to do with it…

    • January 8, 2012 10:05 am

      Your rhetoric isn’t matched by the facts.
      Fracking takes place a thousand feet or more below the water table so that any chemicals that aren’t removed stay in the shale away from the water table.
      The presence of natural gas in wells, and drinking water supplied by wells, as far back as the 1930’s is well (sorry for the pun) documented.
      Any recent problems, such as those the media reported on in Wyoming, were the result of improperly or poorly sealed natural gas wells, not fracking.
      If you have factual information about drinking water turning “black” please let me know.

  3. January 7, 2012 11:02 pm

    Articles like this serve only to make excuses for dangerous practices. Instead of incessantly trying to coddle corporations and their dangerous practices, why don’t we focus our energy and time on new sources of fuel, like helium 3 production, that have no significant environmental risks and can even be produced and mined in huge quantities by robots on the moon, creating no risks at all for humans or the earth. The moon contains enough helium 3 to power the entire earth for 11,000 years!

    • January 8, 2012 9:55 am

      I nearly marked this as spam because it is nonsense.
      It will be a long while before we will be mining the moon. Until then we ned to take advantage of the energy resources we have.

  4. hiro permalink
    March 14, 2012 12:28 am

    “This information confirms that natural gas invades water systems naturally,

    and that there is no reason to blame fracking for natural gas in the water supply as shown in the movie, Gasland.”

    The first part of your conclusion is a well known fact among the people that study this sort of thing. The second part (the conclusion you draw from it) proves to me that you are a ******* idiot and have no business spreading your stupid to other people via the internet.

    If you walked by a full outdoor swimming pool and saw that it was full, would you assume that it had been raining a lot recently? No, because that would be stupid. Sure, it’s possible that the pool had been filled by the rain, but it doesn’t confirm it and remove all possibility that the pool owner had filled it manually.

    My opinion is that you’ve recently become an old man, and the times have now clearly passed you by. It’s probably considered early at your age, but you need to retire to an old folks community somewhere and play board games and watch jeopardy for a living.

  5. March 14, 2012 9:52 am

    Thank you for your suggestions and good wishes when I retire.
    It would have been helpful if you had added some information about fracking.
    The latest information is confirming that fracking is not causing contamination of wells or the aquifer. It would appear as though poor cementing jobs have been the main culprit, except in those areas where natural gas is so prevalent that it seeps naturally into wells.

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