More and more people are slowly becoming aware of the dangers of hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking, but most believe that the potential hazards are related to waste getting in underwater streams or the possibility that increased earthquakes could be related to the extraction process. Few would imagine that fracking waste would actually deliberately be put into their drinking water, but that’s exactly what California residents are now having to deal with.
Fracking Waste In California Aquifers
In newly discovered documents it’s revealed that almost 3 billion gallons of fracking waste have been pumped into aquifers intended for safe drinking water in The Golden State. One really horrific factor to this story, other than having dangerous waste in the water supply, is the fact that this is occurring in the midst of one of the worst droughts to ever hit California.
A letter to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from the Chief Deputy Director of California’s Water Resources Control Board, Jonathan Bishop, explained that at least nine different injection wells for fracking waste were emptied into aquifers that were only supposed to contain clean water.
Where Fracking Waste Goes
In many instances, companies engaged in the extraction process simply inject fracking waste back into the ground. In some cases, though, the company is allowed to inject the waste into certain aquifers. These aquifers are listed as “exempt” by the EPA, and this means that they contain water that’s unsafe for humans to consume.
However, for some reason companies were allowed to inject this waste — which has been found to be radioactive — into several aquifers and it was ingested by California residents. Since all of this has come to light, the state has shut down nine wells that once contained safe drinking water and two others just to be cautious.
Even scarier is the fact that over 100 water supply wells are actually within a radius of one mile of affected aquifers. When one considers the fact that fracking produces 7.5 barrels of waste water for every barrel of crude oil recovered, and an even larger 26 barrels of waste water for each 100,000 cubic feet of natural gas recovered, a person has to really start asking themselves if it’s even worth it.
Unfortunately, fracking companies and some state agencies don’t seem to care either way.