One of the fears of increased use of fracking for shale gas is the quantity of water used. But...


One of the fears of increased use of fracking for shale gas is the quantity of water used. But how much water does fracking really consume? A lot less than coal or oil, Jesse Jenkins calculates: "If shale gas is used to generate electricity at a combined cycle gas plant and displace coal-fired power, the quantity of water consumed per unit of electricity generated could fall on the order of 80%."
Comments (36)
  • bbro
    , contributor
    Comments (10940) | Send Message
     
    As we say in Texas...

     

    "Whiskey is for drinking and water is for fighting for"

     

    http://bit.ly/YC7F89
    6 Apr 2013, 08:33 AM Reply Like
  • bbro
    , contributor
    Comments (10940) | Send Message
     
    Rule of capture...

     

    http://bit.ly/XjK4IA
    6 Apr 2013, 09:03 AM Reply Like
  • bgold1955
    , contributor
    Comments (2348) | Send Message
     
    In August, in Texas, whiskey is cheaper.
    6 Apr 2013, 10:00 AM Reply Like
  • positivethoughts
    , contributor
    Comments (2040) | Send Message
     
    If 70% of the earth is covered in water, and desalination is an easily viable technology, how scarce is clean drinking water, really?
    6 Apr 2013, 08:35 AM Reply Like
  • deercreekvols
    , contributor
    Comments (8667) | Send Message
     
    Ask this question to third world countries and you may get a different response.
    6 Apr 2013, 11:04 AM Reply Like
  • DaLatin
    , contributor
    Comments (1522) | Send Message
     
    Desalination is a huge energy user. ME countries have the fossil fuels,but many poorer nations don't.So,buying the fuel to make water?!
    Big $s they don't have ! The population couldn't afford it !
    6 Apr 2013, 11:08 AM Reply Like
  • Mike Maher
    , contributor
    Comments (2851) | Send Message
     
    Like everything else, it depends on price.
    6 Apr 2013, 12:14 PM Reply Like
  • CameronW
    , contributor
    Comment (1) | Send Message
     
    Desalination is not an easily viable technology. It is an available technology that is quite expensive to implement.
    8 Apr 2013, 05:22 AM Reply Like
  • the_value_vulture
    , contributor
    Comments (322) | Send Message
     
    What has been pretty clear from a variety of sources is groundwater contamination being caused by fracking. Why does the administration turn a blind eye? Hundreds of thousands of jobs, natural gas as the "answer" to co2 emissions, and its lower cost over coal. The future will be the tell but I'm confident we will be looking into the nearly unregulated fracking boom with more concern down the road. Spells disaster to me.
    6 Apr 2013, 09:43 AM Reply Like
  • Mike Maher
    , contributor
    Comments (2851) | Send Message
     
    What sources? Because I have yet to see a definitive study that fracking has a negative effect on groundwater.
    6 Apr 2013, 12:16 PM Reply Like
  • Wapiti33
    , contributor
    Comments (5) | Send Message
     
    I think he means fictional sources.
    6 Apr 2013, 02:03 PM Reply Like
  • davidbdc
    , contributor
    Comments (3194) | Send Message
     
    Value

     

    Ground water contamination has happened for years and years naturally.

     

    Additionally, we've contaminated groundwater by our disposal of pharma drugs.

     

    I've seen no study that can tie groundwater contamination to fracking. Should it be regulated? Absolutely. Should we know what is being placed in the ground? Absolutely. Should we study the areas being fracked for months and years afterwards to see if anything makes its way to the water? Absolutely.

     

    Fracking has been done for decades in parts of this country and their water is fine.

     

    Environmentalists should be spending their time demanding improvements be made in terms of recycling the water used and that clear regulations exist in terms of what can be placed into the ground.
    6 Apr 2013, 02:44 PM Reply Like
  • Mike Maher
    , contributor
    Comments (2851) | Send Message
     
    Wastewater disposal wells are likely a much larger cause of contamination, and concern, then the actual fracking. But david is right, think about all the fluids, such as antifreeze and oil, that leak out of cars and onto the roads, and think where all that goes when it rains. Runoff from fertilizers cause algae blooms that kill all live in the Chesapeake Bay. If people are concerned about the safety of the water, which they absolutely should be, there are dozens of other issues that we can all agree are negatively affecting the water, without having to argue about fracking.
    6 Apr 2013, 06:28 PM Reply Like
  • DaLatin
    , contributor
    Comments (1522) | Send Message
     
    Nowhere in the national anthem does its say purple covered dust liners majesty !

     

    Anything that ends burning coal is worth 10 times the water use.Clean coal is oxymoron of all time.

     

    Yeah, I hear China burns coal,but, they see the SMOG in the cities and their new green industry is growing & their green cities will lead the world.Or will be right behind Brazil. They get it..

     

    Yeah 2, I know about Scandinavia ,but,there tiny places & had big head start.
    6 Apr 2013, 10:44 AM Reply Like
  • wigit5
    , contributor
    Comments (4356) | Send Message
     
    bigthinker, I know you saw the ohio study which makes coal for all intensive purpose 'clean' even more so then nat gas so you may want to hold off saying clean coal is an oxymoron until the results of that test are concluded.

     

    Technology may yet find a way
    6 Apr 2013, 01:30 PM Reply Like
  • DaLatin
    , contributor
    Comments (1522) | Send Message
     
    wig, not the dust ! The dust is the danger and it's filler the country.
    6 Apr 2013, 04:00 PM Reply Like
  • solojif
    , contributor
    Comments (123) | Send Message
     
    Check out HEK they recycle the Frac water.
    6 Apr 2013, 12:11 PM Reply Like
  • deercreekvols
    , contributor
    Comments (8667) | Send Message
     
    There is no study that states fracking is hurting ground water.
    Where is the outrage over deep-water drilling for oil? There have been far more accidents in this area than fracking has caused, I would think.

     

    Fracking has been taking place in north western PA for some time and there has yet to be a report of "ruined" ground water and no tap water has caught fire. (sensationalism at its best)

     

    New York continues to ban fracking in spite of DEC studies which say it can be conducted. Governor Cuomo is standing by his friends in NYC who stand to gain nothing from allowing fracking.
    Oil drilling done decades ago has had more of an effect on some areas water supplies than fracking has.

     

    Please, if there is a study which states fracking is dangerous to ground water/drinking water, then post a link.
    6 Apr 2013, 12:25 PM Reply Like
  • bgold1955
    , contributor
    Comments (2348) | Send Message
     
    Deer.... Live in Barnett Shale area and you are right no study where everyone agrees that fracking CAN pollute underground water. A study requires both for and against to agree. That will never happen just as in the warming issue. Therefore, no proof? If the well casing breaks in groundwater level, happens infrequently but does happen, infiltration can occur. Google "Dish Texas Fracking" and/or "flammable water fracking", both sides are presented, of course but no consensus (or study) can be agreed upon, naturally. Grew up in the area of industry and I do know what can happen when not done right that causes casing fracture. You decide for yourself.

     

    Agree with you on drilling long ago being more environmentally unfriendly, however, there are hundreds of small time drillers that cut corners that cause the industry headaches. Also you can google "George P Mitchell" father of fracking and you will note that he is concerned about the new (wonderful, IMO) technology and shoddy drilling/maintenance of horizontal drilling. Btw, I am bullish on fracking if done right!
    6 Apr 2013, 02:31 PM Reply Like
  • deercreekvols
    , contributor
    Comments (8667) | Send Message
     
    I live in old oil country, south western NY, where the oil boom came and went back in the late 1800s. Still active wells in the area and many capped ones too. There are plenty of areas in Allegany County where the ground water is undrinkable due to old oil drilling messes.

     

    It seems if New York ever approves fracking it will be tightly regulated. Our governor would have it no other way!

     

    Thanks for the civil comment. Too often this issue is met with strong opinion and comments tend to follow that line.

     

    Enjoy your weekend.
    6 Apr 2013, 02:45 PM Reply Like
  • HPBunker
    , contributor
    Comments (217) | Send Message
     
    @davidbdc: At least you're being honest that you have money riding on fracking. I do not.

     

    As far as studies being done, you all must be joking. When the drillers don't even have to disclose what chemicals they're injecting into the ground, how is anyone supposed to prove the chemicals are entering water supplies? The current regulatory environment is a farce. In Pennsylvania they even allow the waste fracking fluid regurgitated from the ground to be used to deice roads. In other words, this toxic slop, about which we know nothing since there are no disclosure requirements, is dumped directly onto roads, from which it flows unimpeded into streams and rivers. Yeah, that makes a lot of sense.

     

    There are also a thousand other reasons to oppose fracking, that would apply to other drilling processes as well. We already have lots of data showing increases in crime in (for example) Pennsylvania, with drunk driving, assaults, and robberies all increasing as single young men (ie the most crime-prone demographic) flood in to take all these shiny new fracking jobs.

     

    Other "bonuses" for areas that allow fracking are roads congested with tanker trucks bringing in water and those mystery fracking chemicals and scenic drill pads dotting the countryside, lit up all night like Disneyland. In short, the industry wrecks the rural quality of life. Many land owners simply lease their land and then retire down to Florida to live off the royalty checks, leaving their neighbors to deal with the negative consequences.

     

    Unless you're personally invested in fracking, and morally compromised as a result, increased conservation makes vastly more sense in terms of economics, the environment, and basic quality of life.
    6 Apr 2013, 07:25 PM Reply Like
  • Mike Maher
    , contributor
    Comments (2851) | Send Message
     
    SO HP you are against land owner using their land for the maximally productive use? Here's something to consider: If there is oil under your rich neighbor who retired in Florida's land, there is likely oil under your land, and you should also lease it, and retire to Florida.

     

    You want to know what chemicals are used? http://bit.ly/KJezNJ

     

    Dont take my word for it, I'm a single young man, so I must be a criminal.
    7 Apr 2013, 03:38 AM Reply Like
  • HPBunker
    , contributor
    Comments (217) | Send Message
     
    Yes, Mike, I am. When "maximally productive" uses of the land leave it despoiled and useless for anything else. After a few years of natural gas production, you're left with toxic water, contaminated soil, and former wilderness or farmland that's now good only for a parking lot.

     

    The other problem of course is I don't want my "neighbor" deciding for me that my rural land has to be industrialized as well. And let's face it: all that fracking equipment, water, and chemicals doesn't come in by helicopter. It requires new roads through former forests and fields, and expensive repairs for existing roads wrecked by fracking truck traffic. Plus all those fun new industrial sounds and upstanding fracking workers who get drunk after work each day and go cruising the backroads until they hit a tree (or some innocent pedestrian or motorist).

     

    So no thanks. You can keep all that fracking goodness to yourself. Don't like these restrictions? That's ok, too. This is a free country. You have every right to sell your land and leave.
    7 Apr 2013, 08:38 PM Reply Like
  • Mike Maher
    , contributor
    Comments (2851) | Send Message
     
    Again, I'd ask for proof that fracking leaves land "despoiled and useless for anything else. After a few years of natural gas production, you're left with toxic water, contaminated soil, and former wilderness or farmland that's now good only for a parking lot." I have yet to find proof, either through studies, or the barren wastelands that are North Dakota, PA, Ohio, and the Eagle Ford that plants will not grow and that people cannot live on land that is also producing oil or natural gas.

     

    And your "neighbor" doesnt determine the land use in your region, local zoning, or state laws dictate that. In PA driller like CHK are paying for the upkeep on some of the roads that need to be expanded and replaced. Expanding these roads requires the hiring of new workers. The increase in population, and associated crime, mean that new police officers are needed in these towns, again meaning new jobs.

     

    New York state has done a great job of preventing drilling in that state. Whether or not this is a positive development depends on if you are a land owner along the NY PA border, and are being denied tens or thousands of dollars by the state government, or if you are a city in that region in desperate need of new jobs. I am neither.
    7 Apr 2013, 10:17 PM Reply Like
  • HPBunker
    , contributor
    Comments (217) | Send Message
     
    "The increase in population, and associated crime, mean that new police officers are needed in these towns, again meaning new jobs."

     

    And as a resident I should be in favor of this? Wow, look at all those shiny new police jobs we have now that crime has shot through the roof thanks to fracking! Plus we get to pay higher property taxes to support these new police officers, who get to retire at 50 with a full pension after 20 years on the job! This is great!
    7 Apr 2013, 10:58 PM Reply Like
  • HPBunker
    , contributor
    Comments (217) | Send Message
     
    Mike, NY's state government has (so far) done what the people of NY wanted it to do. Are you proposing some sort of rigged democracy, where only fracking supporters get to vote?

     

    This is no different from any other kind of zoning, that local governments do all the time, everywhere in the country. Can you frack your land in NY? Nope. Can you open a brothel on your property? Nope. A casino? Nope. How about a nuclear waste dump. Nope, not that either. The injustice of it all!
    7 Apr 2013, 11:18 PM Reply Like
  • Mike Maher
    , contributor
    Comments (2851) | Send Message
     
    Sorry, I missed the public referendum in NY that showed the public voted against fracking, could you please provide the link to that, and to the studies showing fracking ruins the soil? And the increased property taxes payed by property owners whose land is now worth 10x more because of the minerals underneath will pay for the new police, without the property tax rate changing. Also, the state banning an activity is different from local zoning boards setting land use guidelines, and zoning is not based on democratic votes on what land should be used for anyway.

     

    For the record, there is drilling actively going on in New York, they only have a moratorium on fracking. http://bit.ly/XyhFke

     

    I get it, you value the peace and wilderness that you live in, its why you bought your property. You view fracking as a threat to your way of life, and your quality of life. But at least your being made much wealthier for being inconvenienced.
    7 Apr 2013, 11:38 PM Reply Like
  • HPBunker
    , contributor
    Comments (217) | Send Message
     
    "I get it, you value the peace and wilderness that you live in, its why you bought your property. You view fracking as a threat to your way of life, and your quality of life."

     

    In a word, yes. If my only concerns were financial, I'd move to Texas or Oklahoma, or some other low tax, low regulation, pro-drilling state. Anyone is free to do the same, which is why I've never understood all the anger directed at people who oppose fracking. This is a democracy. You either win at the ballot box or you lose. If you lose in one state, move to another and seek out your fracking dream job. No one's going to stop you.

     

    And yes, NY had a referendum on fracking. It was called a gubernatorial election and the Democratic candidate won. NY residents could have voted Republican (for the governor, as well as for individual state legislators) and thereby elected pro-fracking candidates, but they chose the anti-fracking party. This was their right in a democracy.

     

    Zoning happens at both the state and local level. For example, NY state bans prostitution (and currently fracking) statewide. Other zoning decisions are made by local governments. Either way, these decisions are democratic, as the governments that make them are democratically elected and can be voted out of office.

     

    Mike, I thank you for being more respectful than some, but you are still essentially arguing that, whatever harm fracking does to residents' quality of life, they get lots of money to make up for it. Life simply doesn't work that way. Once you have enough money to buy food, clothes, shelter, etc., money has rapidly diminishing returns. I can't think of a dollar amount that would be adequate compensation for tearing up the land in my community to make way for access roads and drill pads, let alone the accompanying air, water, and soil contamination.
    8 Apr 2013, 12:02 AM Reply Like
  • phemale60
    , contributor
    Comments (2947) | Send Message
     
    "I missed the public referendum in NY that showed the public voted against fracking, could you please provide the link to that . . ."

     

    Andrew Cuomo won with 62% of vote. We knew his stance on fracking during election.
    8 Apr 2013, 01:52 PM Reply Like
  • Hendershott
    , contributor
    Comments (1689) | Send Message
     
    Actually, Halliburton will tell you what they use for different shales. It's on their website. Mostly stuff that's under your kitchen sink. The whole country has a lot riding on fracking, that is why it's not being heavily regulated.
    6 Apr 2013, 07:45 PM Reply Like
  • DaLatin
    , contributor
    Comments (1522) | Send Message
     
    EPA has 1000s of new pages on fracking.Industry lawyers are working on it now to try an comply.Even the HCA has a few 1000 pages that will assist in regulating much of the fossil fuel industry..

     

    It's coming. Give the new EPA lady a few days to get all her lawyers feet wet..
    7 Apr 2013, 03:48 AM Reply Like
  • Hendershott
    , contributor
    Comments (1689) | Send Message
     
    Maybe so, I hope not. So far the administration has insisted that fracking be regulated at the state level.
    7 Apr 2013, 07:43 PM Reply Like
  • DaLatin
    , contributor
    Comments (1522) | Send Message
     
    Well Gov Cuomo seems to be tabling his fracking report as it was too positive ! Sad,, rural NY needs the jobs !
    7 Apr 2013, 07:46 PM Reply Like
  • phemale60
    , contributor
    Comments (2947) | Send Message
     
    Yes, well, we like our water uncontaminated (as much as is possible). If fracking is our only means for creating jobs then we are indeed in deep trouble. Bring back manufacturing from overseas a much worthier fight I think. Energy sector spending big $$ convincing importance of energy jobs while denouncing science.
    8 Apr 2013, 01:33 PM Reply Like
  • HPBunker
    , contributor
    Comments (217) | Send Message
     
    Wait, don't answer that. I figured it out. You think that because I support environmental regulation, I must also be a hardcore economic liberal. In fact, you couldn't be more wrong. I'm a fiscal conservative and used to vote Republican, before the party went hard, hard right on environmental issues. George W. Bush even got my vote, the first time around.

     

    The Democrats offer me high taxes and economic policies that are pretty awful for the country, no argument there. But the Republicans these days are basically running on a platform of complete deregulation in the environmental arena. It's a close call, but I can't bring myself to vote for the drill, baby drill folks.

     

    Why does this matter? Because issues like this are killing the Republican party. When your candidates run as hyperconservatives on social issues (environment, gay marriage, birth control, etc) middle class suburban voters who would benefit from Republican economic policies and stuff like public education reform just tune the party out and stop listening. And you need us, 'cause you're never going to get the votes of people who come out way ahead in the benefits received - taxes paid calculation, and that's an ever-growing segment of the population.

     

    So just in the cause of self-interest, you might consider moderating a bit on the anti-EPA, pro-fracking rhetoric. You've already got the votes of roughnecks and anti-wolf vigilantes in the west, but without the votes (and campaign contributions) of, ahem, us poor little elite crybabies, you're never going to win another presidential election (especially if the Republicans continue on this suicidal open-borders crusade that the party establishment seems to be on at the moment).
    8 Apr 2013, 04:42 AM Reply Like
  • phemale60
    , contributor
    Comments (2947) | Send Message
     
    I keep hearing about these tax increases!! NYS taxes are high, but the services I appreciate. My payroll taxes went up Jan. 1st but only a little more than they were decreased when President Obama passed a tax cut a few years ago. I suppose those complaining about higher taxes are in higher brackets?

     

    Like P. Diddy's song: Mo Money Mo Problems!!
    8 Apr 2013, 01:45 PM Reply Like
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