Hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking, is quite a controversial subject. There are those who think it is bad for the environment and that it causes many dangers, yet others seem to think it is much ado about nothing. However, it is an activity that requires the use of a huge amount of water. This water comes back out and has to be disposed of properly and responsibly. If it isn’t, then there can be so many hazardous consequences to the environment and people as well.
Let’s take a look at why this liquid waste disposal must be treated properly.
1. Toxic Chemicals Can Last Years
The water used in fracking, especially when it comes back, contains chemicals. Some fracking companies don’t disclose what they use. Water is used as part of the fracking process. The liquid is injected into the ground to help release natural gas and oil. The wastewater can contain radioactive elements, which is dangerous, of course. Some of this wastewater is injected back underground as a means of disposing it. Other times, it can be reused or taken to processing plants for treatment, but this doesn’t always do a good job.
The toxic chemicals can last for years which is obviously not good for the environment, so it has got to be disposed of properly to eliminate this threat. Tests have been done at these spill sites and the drinking water had high amounts of thallium, selenium and radium. In some instances, you would not even want to take a shower with this water, let alone drink it.
2. Potential Earthquakes
While there are ways of trying to get rid of the liquid still being looked at and developed, one method that’s used a lot is to inject this liquid into deep wells. This deep burial method has one major drawback in that it has the potential to cause an earthquake once in a while. The method used to get rid of one problem can end up causing another major one.
3. The Problem Of Waste Treatment
Another method of trying to dispose of the liquid waste is to painstakingly remove the contaminants. When this is done, the clean water can be dumped back into a river or sewer that is nearby. However, this also poses a problem, since it is near impossible to use a normal municipal water treatment facility as these are not designed or equipped to handle the levels of contaminants, radioactivity in particular that is found in these waters.
4. Health Hazard To People
Even when the water is treated, there is evidence to suggest that the drinking water for those living near the site of these operations is badly affected. Many people have claimed that fracking has contaminated their water. These are very likely valid claims and is understandable. Not only can there be a difference in taste, but one may even be able to smell the difference. This contamination can have a detrimental effect on those affected.
5. A Solution?
Perhaps one way to dispose of the liquid waste is to turn them into solids. These can then be easily transported and destroyed and thereby eliminating these threats. There are companies who specialize in turning liquid waste into solids. This can lessen the risk and environmental impact such practices like fracking can cause. It can also be much easier to dispose of, which is the most important thing.