Frack Fluids Can Migrate to Aquifers Within Years

Social, legal and health issues related to air and water toxic pollution in Australia.

Frack Fluids Can Migrate to Aquifers Within Years

Postby HVPA_research » Thu May 03, 2012 11:04 am


This is a unique American computer modelling study trying to predict what would happen to fracking fluids pumped into the Marcellus shale on a huge scale. The results are such that no gas company would accept such findings because they go right against the basic tenet of the fracking industry. They must believe that there is an impenetrable barrier between the geological strata they frack and the surface water aquifers. Otherwise they would not be able to operate. This has obvious implications for the CSG projects in Australia because they are based on the same over-optimistic assumption. However, Marcellus shale is fracked at the depth of about a mile, which is twice as deep then the typical CSG coal measures. The consequences for possible fresh water contamination are obvious. Where are the corresponding Australian hydrological studies?

New Study: Frack Fluids Can Migrate to Aquifers Within Years
May 2, 2012 by Iris Marie Bloom

A new peer-reviewed scientific study has concluded that fracking chemicals injected into the ground could migrate toward drinking water supplies far more quickly than some experts had previously predicted. Abrahm Lustgarten of Propublica reports ( on the significance of the study’s findings here:

More than 5,000 wells were drilled in the Marcellus between mid-2009 and mid-2010, according to the study, which was published in the journal Ground Water two weeks ago. Operators inject up to 4 million gallons of fluid, under more than 10,000 pounds of pressure, to drill and frack each well.

Scientists have theorized that impermeable layers of rock would keep the fluid, which contains benzene and other dangerous chemicals, safely locked nearly a mile below water supplies. This view of the earth’s underground geology is a cornerstone of the industry’s argument that fracking poses minimal threats to the environment.

But the study, using computer modeling, concluded that natural faults and fractures in the Marcellus, exacerbated by the effects of fracking itself, could allow chemicals to reach the surface in as little as “just a few years.”

“Simply put, [the rock layers] are not impermeable,” said the study’s author, Tom Myers, an independent hydrogeologist whose clients include the federal government and environmental groups.

“The Marcellus shale is being fracked into a very high permeability,” he said. “Fluids could move from most any injection process.”
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