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San Diego State University

Common Experience Water

What is Hydraulic Fracturing?


Companies are injecting pressurized liquid into a wellbore to create small fractures along which fluids such as natural gas, petroleum and brine water may migrate to the well. The resources extracted through this method are indeed meant for fuel and energy production.


Problem: During the process of hydraulic fracturing (or fracking), the fracture fluid used in hydraulic fracking can potentially seep into the groundwater, contaminating it. Samples of water taken from EPA's deep monitoring private wells were found to contain gasoline, diesel fuel, BTEX (benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, xylene), naphthalenes, isopropanol, and synthetic chemicals (e.g., glycols and alcohols) used in gas production and hydraulic fracturing fluid, and high methane levels. This water is of course consumed by local residents. Another problem hydraulic fracking poses is its consumption of water. Over its lifetime an average well requires 3 to 5 million US gallons (11,000 to 19,000 m3) of water for the initial hydraulic fracturing operation. Water needed in fracking could be diverted from water supplies, which can affect other industries in power generation, as well as recreation and aquatic life. Water could also be transported by overland piping from long-distance sources. Probably the greatest problem of hydraulic fracking, besides the consumption of contaminated water, is that the government (including the EPA) does nothing to stop it from affecting local residents.





Industries can use carbon dioxide instead of water in hydraulic fracking.


Spread the word! More people need to know of the damaging and hazardous effects of fracking so that it can be prevented.


Alert the EPA or your local government offices if you notice any signs of water pollution as a result of fracking.


(Peacefully) Politically protest hydraulic fracturing.


Recent films that cover hydraulic fracturing




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