Hydraulic Fracturing and Related Health Effects Essay

2212 WordsMay 26, 20159 Pages
The Effects of Hydraulic fracturing on Air and Water Quality Introduction North America possesses immense natural gas reserves. Geologic formations such as the Marcellus shale in Pennsylvania, the Devanian shale in Ohio, and numerous others scattered around the nation are thought to hold enough natural gas to supply the nations energy needs, at current consumptions rates, for up to 27 years, with some estimates as long as one hundred years. (Urbina, 2011 ). Despite the abundance of the gas reserves, advanced drilling techniques are needed to extract the gas from the shale formations. The technique that it is primarily used is known as hydraulic fracturing. The process involves injecting a mixture of water, sand, and chemicals into a gas well under enough pressure to open fissures in the rock formation, thus allowing the gas to flow out of the well. Prior to the widespread use of hydraulic fracturing, the gas yield associated with drilling into deep shale formations was not great enough to make the extraction profitable; however, hydraulic fracturing increases the gas yield and profitability associated with the extraction. (McLedon, 2010) Unfortunately, due to a lack of oversight, the environmental cost of hydraulic fracturing is not being taken into account. There is a growing body of evidence that clearly links hydraulic fracturing to numerous and wide spread incidents of environmental contamination of air and water resources. Hydraulic Fracturing Hydraulic fracturing is a technique that has been used to increase the productivity of oil, gas, and water wells since the early 1950’s. In the past, the use of hydraulic fracturing often referred to as “fracking”, was used as a last ditch effort to increase the productivity of wells that were nearing the end of their

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