I didn't expect to be writing about the toxic process of hydrofracking, which I have read about over the past months, until I read this horrific article by Ian Urbina, "Millions of Gallons of Hazardous Chemicals Injected Into Wells, Report Says" in the NYTimes today. The article was written as a part of their Drilling Down series.
I do not want to go into the details of how hydrofracking is conducted right now, apart from saying that toxic chemicals, and a lot of them, are pumped into the ground at high pressure to crack rock formations underground, releasing natural gas. (You can read more about the entire process through a fantastic multimedia graphic here.) In the end, we end up with wastewater at the surface that contains obscene amounts of radioactive materials, carcinogens and corrosive salts. (You can look at a detailed interactive graphic of contaminated sites in Pennsylvania here) Sometimes, this wastewater is sent to normal treatment plants that do not have the capacity to treat for this toxins and radioactives; nonetheless the water is released into rivers. At the same time, there is contamination of groundwater and aquifers and wells with these chemicals. There has been so much talk about hydrofracking recently, and recent episodes of the The Story (here, here, here) have discussed the issue in various parts of the country, from various perspectives. You can also find documents about the politics of this process here.
Over the next few days and weeks, I will be writing about hydrofracking, in a series I am titling FRACK YOU. I will be tying together various threads of thought that have emerged in this blog over the past months, including rape of the Earth, risk, vulnerability, government regulation, corporate competition, care, respect, proxies and anecdote.
|"A sign warns against swimming in a holding lake in Texas, where Fountain Quail Water Management separates and cleans hydrofracking water." From nytimes.com.|