Hydraulic fracturing, also known as hydrofracturing or hydrofracking, is a process used to increase the water flow from a bedrock well. This process occurs when the size of the fractures in bedrock is increased so that more water can enter into the well. Some drilling companies argue that hydrofracking costs less than, and is a better alternative to, drilling deeper. However, according to the January 4, 2010 newsletter issue for the Center for Health, Environment & Justice titled “Growing Opposition to High Risk Hydrofracking Technology”; many scientists are opposed to the process because of the high levels of radium it releases into the environment. The newsletter also states that “water brought thousands of feet to the surface from drilling had levels of radioactive radium – 226 as high as 267 times the limit safe for discharge into the environment.” An article dating back to July 2008 from the timesunion.com called Hydrofracking: Toxic gas-drilling technique explains that hydrofracking is also a dangerous process when used on the Marcellus Shale, a layer of rock that geologists predict will provide natural gas to the United States for more than 2 years. “The gas in the Marcellus is held like bubbles in a brick of Swiss cheese. To extract it, a mixture of water, sand and chemicals is shot into the earth with such force it fractures the rock, releasing the bubbles to the surface. When the gas surfaces, so does the water — laden with natural toxins from the shale, including suspected cancer-causing compounds.”
You can find out more about hydrofracking and its affects in Does Natural-Gas Drilling Endanger Water Supplies? and Industry campaign targets “hydraulic fracturing” bill.
Have you ever heard of hydrofracking? Do you think it’s worth the risk?