Frack you.

Photo by Adrian Kinloch|

Fracking. It’s a rough process. It requires a lot of energy and sometimes even protection.  Although it can be considered a natural practice, it almost always leads to a break-up. In fact, it’s so risky that it’s been suspended in some countries and even banned in others.   

If you think that Fracking is F!&*ing with a kinky little twist, you may want to keep reading.

Hydro-fracturing or “fracking” is the process of propagating a fracture in a rock layer and injecting pressurized water to extract gas or oil.  There are two types of hydraulic fractures: natural and man-made.  Natural fractures include igneous dikes, sills, and ice and man-made fractures are formed in a borehole and extend into targeted formations.

The reason it’s done is to increase or restore the rate at which oil/gas can be produced from subterranean natural reservoirs.  This technique allows natural gas and oil to be extracted from rocks deep below the earth’s surface (1500-6100m). Because the rocks at such depths are not very porous or permeable (eg: shale), creating fractures allows for the break-up of the rock barrier and subsequent extraction of resources as necessary. 

So what’s the problem? Well, minus the fact that fracking operations require huge amounts of water and acidic chemicals, there is also a huge potential for pollution.  In fact, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the prospective environmental risks associated with fracking have been noted as the following:

                -contamination of ground water sources

                -risks to air quality

                -migration of gases/chemicals to surface

                -mis-handling of waste products

Although the EPA claims that they are unaware of any proven cases of the above risks, they are investigating a broad range of sources and will report their findings as soon as they become available.  

The United States Environmental Protection Agency is also examining the claims of water pollution related to hydraulic fracturing in Texas, North Dakota, Colorado, and Louisiana. 

Other arguments against fracking claim that it has the potential to contaminate fresh water sources, surface water supplies, and may impact the rock-shelf causing earth quakes.  In fact, according to The United States Geological Survey (USGS), hydro-fracturing established “the link between fluid injection and earth quake formation”, which resulted in the banning of fracking in Arkansas.

Likewise, other countries have taken matters into their own hands, placing a moratorium on the procedure, or banning it altogether. For example, Australia, South Africa, and Canada have placed moratoriums on the practice of hydro-fracturing, while France officially banned it in 2011 (after a public outcry).

So why did I decide to expose you to the world of fracking? Well recently, I have been really interested in the exploration of water pollution and global availability. After learning that this process had been banned in France, I wanted to find out a bit more about what it was and why it placed such a risk on the environment.  I wanted to expose the issue to you because I think we should care about what happens to our drinking water before it makes it out of our kitchen tap.

If we don’t... we may as well down a bottle of hydrochloric acid after the gym!