Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Groundbreaking Study Finds Six Chemicals in Fracking Wastewater at Levels Unsafe to Drink

Energy

A pair of researchers at Rice University have produced a study that comprehensively analyzes the content of fracking wastewater for the first time. Other studies have analyzed some of the chemicals found in the chemical-laden "produced water" that is one of the byproducts of fracking, but the Rice study goes much further.

At least six chemicals were found in the fracking wastewater at levels that would make the water unsafe to drink—barium, chromium, copper, mercury, arsenic and antimony.

Environmental Science: Processes and Impacts published the peer-reviewed study which analyzed water samples from three major shale plays in Texas, Pennsylvania and New Mexico. They found that although this byproduct of the fracking process is less toxic than produced water from coalbed methane mining, it shouldn't be allowed anywhere near the drinking water supply. The study also revealed how the contents of this wastewater differs dramatically in the three states. These results could fuel the controversy about fracking near rivers, lakes, aquifers and wells, as well as the disposal of the wastewater.

"The quality of shale gas produced waters is a current environmental concern and disposal problem for producers," the study said. "Re-use of produced water for hydraulic fracturing is being encouraged; however, knowledge of the organic impurities is important in determining the method of treatment."

While the details of the study are comprehensible mostly by chemists, Inside Climate News simplified the take-away:

Previous studies have examined the salinity of this waste and even some of the inorganic chemicals. Building from that, the Rice researchers identified 25 inorganic chemicals in the waste. Of those, at least six were found at levels that would make the water unsafe to drink—barium, chromium, copper, mercury, arsenic and antimony. Depending on the chemical, consuming it at high levels can cause high blood pressure, skin damage, liver or kidney damage, stomach issues or cancer.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

GAO Report: Drinking Water at Risk from Underground Fracking Waste Injection

New Jersey Senate Passes Fracking Waste Ban

Jail Time for Boss Who Ordered Employees to Dump Fracking Waste in Ohio River

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Pexels

By Charli Shield

At unsettling times like the coronavirus outbreak, it might feel like things are very much out of your control. Most routines have been thrown into disarray and the future, as far as the experts tell us, is far from certain.

Read More Show Less
Pie Ranch in San Mateo, California, is a highly diverse farm that has both organic and food justice certification. Katie Greaney

By Elizabeth Henderson

Farmworkers, farmers and their organizations around the country have been singing the same tune for years on the urgent need for immigration reform. That harmony turns to discord as soon as you get down to details on how to get it done, what to include and what compromises you are willing to make. Case in point: the Farm Workforce Modernization Act (H.R. 5038), which passed in the House of Representatives on Dec. 11, 2019, by a vote of 260-165. The Senate received the bill the next day and referred it to the Committee on the Judiciary, where it remains. Two hundred and fifty agriculture and labor groups signed on to the United Farm Workers' (UFW) call for support for H.R. 5038. UFW President Arturo Rodriguez rejoiced:

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
A woman walks to her train in Grand Central Terminal as New York City attempts to slow down the spread of coronavirus through social distancing on March 27. John Lamparski / Getty Images

By Julia Conley

A council representing more than 800,000 doctors across the U.S. signed a letter Friday imploring President Donald Trump to reverse his call for businesses to reopen by April 12, warning that the president's flouting of the guidance of public health experts could jeopardize the health of millions of Americans and throw hospitals into even more chaos as they fight the coronavirus pandemic.

Read More Show Less
polaristest / Flickr / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

By Melissa Kravitz Hoeffner

Over six gallons of water are required to produce one gallon of wine. "Irrigation, sprays, and frost protection all [used in winemaking] require a lot of water," explained winemaker and sommelier Keith Wallace, who's also a professor and the founder of the Wine School of Philadelphia, the largest independent wine school in the U.S. And water waste is just the start of the climate-ruining inefficiencies commonplace in the wine industry. Sustainably speaking, climate change could be problematic for your favorite glass of wine.

Read More Show Less
Pixabay

By Rachael Link, MS, RD

Spinach is a true nutritional powerhouse, as it's rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

Read More Show Less