Stop Fracking Up Our Water—New Study Supports Water Contamination Due to Fracking
An independent analysis of new U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) water monitoring data verifies a 2011 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) investigation into whether hydraulic fracturing contaminated the Wind River aquifer near Pavillion, Wyoming—an important groundwater source that provides water to thousands of Wyoming residents and farmers.
The preliminary results of U.S. EPA’s study was one of the first to document hydrocarbons consistent with fracking fluid chemicals in drinking water wells and monitoring wells located near natural gas wells. The U.S. EPA’s preliminary results have since been attacked by the oil and gas industry, as they seek to continue their dangerous practices and protect their own interests over public health and safety. USGS’s study was conducted specifically to check the U.S. EPA’s results.
The Sierra Club, Earthworks and Natural Resources Defense Council worked with a hydrologist and independent expert, Dr. Tom Myers, to analyze the USGS raw data and compare those results with the original EPA report. Dr. Myers found that the USGS data support EPA's initial findings. EPA’s analysis should be widely accepted now that its findings have been replicated.
The USGS report found that thermogenic gas, which very likely comes from fracked deep shale formations, continues to increase in a monitoring well. This evidence strongly suggests that as a result of fracking, gas is seeping into Pavillion’s water. A range of chemicals associated with the fracking process also continue to appear in the monitoring well, showing that hazardous pollution is spreading towards the surface. This new information supports EPA’s hypothesis that natural gas drilling activities, including fracking, have contaminated the Wind River aquifer near Pavillion.
“The Sierra Club is concerned by the U.S. Geological Survey’s important conclusions, which further underline EPA’s report that fracking has contaminated Pavillion’s water,” said Deb Nardone, Sierra Club Beyond Natural Gas campaign director. “This report raises the alarm on the public health threats posed by dirty and dangerous fracking and the need to rein in a oil and gas industry that remains unchecked and unaccountable for their toxic pollution.”
“Dr. Myers’ analysis shows that the USGS upholds EPA’s preliminary conclusion that hydraulic fracturing contaminated Pavillion-area groundwater,” said Bruce Baizel, Earthworks’ Oil & Gas Accountability Project senior staff attorney.” He continued, “It’s long past time for states and industry to stop denying oil and gas development’s environmental problems, and start working on fixing them.”
“This reinforces EPA’s findings—and the concerns of Americans in communities across the country—that dangerous fracking practices are putting our drinking water and health at risk,” said NRDC senior policy analyst Amy Mall. “That’s why it’s critical that EPA thoroughly investigate reports of fracking water contamination concerns. It’s essential that we protect Americans from a repeat of what we are seeing in Wyoming.”
Visit EcoWatch’s FRACKING page for more related news on this topic.
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Jean-Marc Neveu and Olivier Civil never expected to find themselves battling against disposable mask pollution.
When they founded their recycling start-up Plaxtil in 2017, it was textile waste they set their sights on. The project developed a process that turned fabrics into a new recyclable material they describe as "ecological plastic."
Mounting Piles of Waste<p>It is not only the streets of Chatellerault where pandemic pollution is piling-up, but also the world's beaches and oceans. Once there, they can take up to 450 years to degrade and disappear.</p><p>Esther Röling, co-organizer of the annual Adventure Clean Up Challenge held on Hong Kong Island, has seen this waste firsthand. In October the sports challenge pitted teams against one another in a competition to remove trash from 13 hard-to-reach coastal areas around the city.</p><p>They find tons of both disposable and reusable masks, said Röling. "You wonder how it ended up there. Was it just thrown on the ground? Or was it in a garbage bag that broke open?"</p><p>Almost 10,000 kilometers away in Antibes on the sunny French Riviera, it's a similar picture. For the past few months, divers and clean-up volunteers working with an ocean clean-up non-profit called Operation Mer Propre have been collecting an increasing number of masks found on land and in the sea.</p><p>"Since the beginning of the lockdown when we started to count, we've reached 800, 900, [and now in total] 1000 masks," said co-founder Joko Peltier. </p><p>According to <a href="https://unctad.org/news/growing-plastic-pollution-wake-covid-19-how-trade-policy-can-help" target="_blank">UN estimates</a>, up to 75% of all coronavirus-related plastic could end up as waste in oceans and landfills.</p>
The Limits of Recycling<p>Yet not all are convinced the recycling of this waste is possible on a global scale. </p><p>"What those citizen groups are doing is really beneficial but once they collect it, it should just go to a landfill or an incinerator. They shouldn't necessarily expect it to get recycled," said Jonathan Krones, an industrial ecologist and visiting assistant professor of environmental studies at Boston College.</p><p>That's because mask recycling programs like Plaxtil are few and far between and most don't have the benefit of a readily adaptable production process. </p><p>Even in countries with solid recycling infrastructure, he says, the system is designed to separate out specific types of waste like bottles or cardboard.</p><p>"I imagine that it would be technically feasible to develop a separation process to filter out masks, but there simply aren't enough of them to make that economical," he said.</p><p>Collection is a big hurdle, he adds. Since each mask only weighs a fraction of a gram and they're scattered on roads or mixed with other trash, it is difficult and costly. </p><p>"You need a lot of raw material of the right quality to make investing in the recycling technology and the recycling system worthwhile," he said.<span></span><br></p>
Hemp, Sugar Cane and Sustainable Alternatives<p>Some projects are instead addressing the material used to make masks.</p><p>French company Geochanvre have created a mask made primarily from hemp, while in Australia, researchers at the Queensland University of Technology are experimenting with a disposable product made from agricultural waste. </p><p>Biodegradable options are exciting alternatives to reduce the fossil fuels needed for the creation of plastic-based masks, said Krones, but they don't absolve the wearer from the responsibility of what happens afterwards. </p><p>Bio-based masks often need their own composing solutions, he explains, because in landfill they can produce high amounts of the greenhouse gas methane when anaerobic bacteria feeds on the organic material. Methane is known to be significantly more potent than carbon dioxide.</p><p>"I think as long as we have in our mind that we want to have disposability, we're going to have to wrestle with a variety of different sorts of environmental tradeoffs," he said, adding that reusable, fabric masks are the best option available to most people.</p><p>Precimask is developing a clear face covering with an optional visor made from hard plastic, designed to be long-lasting.<br></p><p>Air enters either side of the cheeks through a technology normally found in pool filters and car exhaust systems, said company spokeswoman Juliette Chambet.</p><p>"We wanted to make ceramic-based filters that would be washable and cleanable, which would allow them to be reused as many times as desired without having to buy a new consumable or produce waste," she said. </p><p>Ultimately, encouraging mask wearers to think about the entire lifecycle of a mask is key, explains Neveu. </p><p>"We want people who put on the masks to realize that they are also responsible for the waste, he said. "It's not inevitable that this [pandemic] will become an environmental catastrophe.</p><p><em>Reposted with permission from </em><em><a href="https://www.dw.com/en/covid-19-recycling-pollution-trash-pandemic/a-55707817" target="_blank">Deutsche Welle</a>.</em><a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/r/entryeditor/2649032193#/" target="_self"></a></p>
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