Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Fracking controversy: Using water, sand and chemicals to extract natural gas from shale

Date:
April 11, 2011
Source:
University of Cincinnati
Summary:
The turmoil in oil-producing nations is triggering turmoil at home, as rising oil prices force Americans to pay more at the pump. Meanwhile, there's a growing industry that's promising jobs and access to cheaper energy resources on American soil, but it's not without its controversy.

Deborah Kittner.
Credit: Image courtesy of University of Cincinnati

The turmoil in oil-producing nations is triggering turmoil at home, as rising oil prices force Americans to pay more at the pump. Meanwhile, there's a growing industry that's promising jobs and access to cheaper energy resources on American soil, but it's not without its controversy.

Deborah Kittner, a University of Cincinnati doctoral student in geography, presents, "What's the Fracking Problem? Extraction Industry's Neglect of the Locals in the Pennsylvania Marcellus Region," at the annual meeting of the Association of American Geographers. Kittner will be presenting April 14 at the meeting in Seattle. She is part of a large contingent of UC researchers to be presenting at the conference.

Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, involves using millions of gallons of water, sand and a chemical cocktail to break up organic-rich shale to release natural gas resources. Kittner's research examined the industry in Pennsylvania, known as the "sweet spot" for this resource, because of the abundance of natural gas. Pittsburgh has now outlawed fracking in its city limits as has Buffalo, N.Y., amid concerns that chemical leaks could contaminate groundwater, wells and other water resources.

The EPA is now doing additional study on the relationship of hydraulic fracturing and drinking water and groundwater after congress stated its concern about the potential adverse impact that the process may have on water quality and public health. Kittner attended an EPA hearing and also interviewed people in the hydraulic fracturing industry. She says billions of dollars from domestic as well as international sources have been invested in the industry.

The chemical cocktail used in the process is actually relatively small. The mixture is about 95-percent water, nearly five percent sand, and the rest chemical, yet, Kittner says some of those chemicals are known toxins and carcinogens, hence, the "not in my backyard" backlash from communities that can be prospects for drilling. The flow-back water from drilling is naturally a very salty brine, prone to bacterial growth, and potentially contaminated with heavy metals, Kittner says. In addition, there's the question of how to properly dispose of millions of gallons of contaminated water, as well as concerns about trucking it on winding, rural back roads.

Based on her research, Kittner says that many in the industry are "working to be environmentally responsible, and become frustrated at companies that do otherwise."

"I think that the study that the EPA is doing is going to be really helpful, and the industry -- however reluctant to new regulations -- is working with the EPA on this," Kittner says.

Kittner has lived in Ft. Thomas, Ky., for two decades, but is originally from Warren, Pa. Her research took her to an EPA public meeting in Canonsburg, Pa., where she audio-taped 114 people presenting public statements of what they wanted the EPA study to examine. That study is expected to be completed in 2012 and will include an examination of what to do with millions of gallons of contaminated flow-back water.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Cincinnati. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Cincinnati. "Fracking controversy: Using water, sand and chemicals to extract natural gas from shale." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 April 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110411103724.htm>.
University of Cincinnati. (2011, April 11). Fracking controversy: Using water, sand and chemicals to extract natural gas from shale. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110411103724.htm
University of Cincinnati. "Fracking controversy: Using water, sand and chemicals to extract natural gas from shale." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110411103724.htm (accessed September 17, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) Squid experts in New Zealand thawed and examined an unusual catch on Tuesday: a colossal squid. It was captured in Antarctica's remote Ross Sea in December last year and has been frozen for eight months. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Man Floats for 31 Hours in Gulf Waters

Man Floats for 31 Hours in Gulf Waters

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) A Texas man is lucky to be alive after he and three others floated for more than a day in the Gulf of Mexico when their boat sank during a fishing trip. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researchers Explore Shipwrecks Off Calif. Coast

Researchers Explore Shipwrecks Off Calif. Coast

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) Federal researchers are exploring more than a dozen underwater sites where they believe ships sank in the treacherous waters west of San Francisco in the decades following the Gold Rush. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Isolated N. Korea Asks For International Help With Volcano

Isolated N. Korea Asks For International Help With Volcano

Newsy (Sep. 16, 2014) Mount Paektu volcano in North Korea is showing signs of life and there's not much known about it. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins