Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Earth Science News

High-Tech Gas Drilling Is Fouling Drinking Water 390

Posted by Soulskill
from the sometimes-you-have-to-roll-a-hard-six dept.
sciencehabit writes "Drilling for natural gas locked deep in a shale formation — a process known as fracking — has seriously contaminated shallow groundwater supplies beneath far northeastern Pennsylvania with flammable methane. That's the conclusion of a new study, published yesterday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The analysis gives few clues, however, to how pervasive such contamination might be across the wide areas of the Northeast United States, Texas, and other states where drilling for shale gas has taken off in recent years."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

High-Tech Gas Drilling Is Fouling Drinking Water

Comments Filter:
  • but but (Score:2, Informative)

    but but Regulation is bad... m'kay?

    • Re:but but (Score:5, Funny)

      by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Tuesday May 10, 2011 @08:19AM (#36081200) Journal
      The terms "water pollution" and "risk to human health" are so very anti-business and job-killing. We prefer to say that the invisible hand is incentivizing the purchase of bottled water at the present time...
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        It's easy enough to blame fracturing, but the process of fracturing itself is occurring deep within some producing formation. The Marcellus shale in Pennsylvania is a mile underneath the surface. If there's natural gas in the water table then it's the improper disposal of recovered fluids that is causing it, not the fracturing process. This water is supposed to be pumped back into some deep reservoir or trucked off to evaporation ponds.

        • Re:but but (Score:4, Insightful)

          by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Tuesday May 10, 2011 @08:35AM (#36081324) Journal
          Thankfully, you can save money on maintenance and improve evaporation pond efficiency if you don't bother to actually make sure that the impermeable liner of the pond is impermeable... Win-Win, baby!
        • Re:but but (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Andy Dodd (701) <[atd7] [at] [cornell.edu]> on Tuesday May 10, 2011 @09:10AM (#36081674) Homepage

          Let's face it, SOME aspect of the fracturing process, whether it be frac water dumping, well casing failure (gotta get that pressurized water down there somehow), or the (far less likely but not yet confirmed to be impossible) slight possibility those fractures are of much greater extent than expected, is contaminating wells on a widespread basis.

          The gas companies deny it's happening and still say fracking is "safe" - whenever a water well starts producing methane the gas company claims it's naturally occuring biogenic methane. Really, do you expect ANYONE to believe that multiple wells across the country which been producing clean drinking water for decades suddenly got contaminated with methane-producing bacteria within 1-2 years of fracking operations commencing nearby?

          I live on top of the Marcellus, so I've been following the situation pretty closely (and yeah, I've watched GASLAND - scary material and one of the reasons I'm pro-nuclear - that industry has a far better track record in the USA and constantly strives to improve safety. Gas companies say they're safe when they clearly are not, and refuse to make any improvements.)

          • A part of me feels like this article was submitted primarily as an excuse to use the word 'fracking.'

          • Re:but but (Score:4, Insightful)

            by Attila Dimedici (1036002) on Tuesday May 10, 2011 @10:08AM (#36082506)

            Let's face it, SOME aspect of the fracturing process, whether it be frac water dumping, well casing failure (gotta get that pressurized water down there somehow), or the (far less likely but not yet confirmed to be impossible) slight possibility those fractures are of much greater extent than expected, is contaminating wells on a widespread basis.

            Actually, that is not the case. We do not know what the incidence of methane in the water was in those wells before the gas companies started fracking (at least based on both of the articles linked to in the summary). We do not even know what the incience of methane in water wells near other, non-fracking gas wells is. Until we have at least a proxy for an answer to those questions, we will be unable to evaluate the level of risk that fracking brings and if it actually is causing a problem. Additionally, with that information, we will be able to determine how to ameliorate the problem.

          • by tibit (1762298)

            If the water is only contaminated with methane, is it even a real problem? Is methane in drinking water toxic to humans? Is there enough methane in the water to pose a fire hazard when you use the water in everyday chores? I'd think that the only scenario when water gets good gas exchange with air is in the shower and in the dishwasher. Were people's dishwashers blowing up? Did anyone lose their hair and hearing due to a methane explosion while taking a shower? Methane is odorless, so it's not like anyone w

          • Re:but but (Score:5, Insightful)

            by radtea (464814) on Tuesday May 10, 2011 @10:54AM (#36083260)

            Let's face it, SOME aspect of the fracturing process... is contaminating wells on a widespread basis.

            The cited research doesn't actually demonstrate this. It demonstrates that wells near fracking sites have much higher methane levels that wells that are more than 1 km from fracking sites.

            However, there is a reason why fracking sites are where they are: it's where there is the highest concentration of gas in the ground, or where it's easier to extract, or it's where there is some aspect of the surface access situation that makes it easier to drill there, or... So there is the potential for a selection effect to come into play here: it may be that wells drilled in the vicinity of localities that are good candidates for fracking have higher levels of methane than those that do not.

            Fracking is certainly the most plausible causal candidate, but there does need to be follow-up research on these less-plausible, but not insane, alternatives.

            In the meantime, states should require that all wells within 1 km of proposed fracking sites be tested for methane levels on a yearly basis, and corporations engaged in fracking should be on the hook for the costs of these tests as well as supplying the homeowners with water if there is an increase in methane levels due to deep-methane leakage of the kind reported in this paper. Only by capturing the before-and-after picture will the situation become unequivocal.

            Of course, this is the United States, with the most dysfunctional, inefficient and ineffective governments in the developed world (which is why so many Americans think 'government is bad'... because their governments are). So while my proposal would be sensible in any other country, in the US the state governments are almost certainly incompetent to execute such a simple plan. Americans just aren't able to do the things that other people in other countries manage all the time, without any fuss or bother.

            • Re:but but (Score:5, Informative)

              by jbengt (874751) on Tuesday May 10, 2011 @02:38PM (#36086110)

              However, there is a reason why fracking sites are where they are: it's where there is the highest concentration of gas in the ground, . . .

              That's not exactly correct. The "gas" and oil is locked in the shale. In contrast to conventional reservoirs, it is not a gas until the fracturing of the rock and extraction with the magical fluids that Cheney made sure do not need EPA approval. It is entirely possible (though not demonstrated) that the fracking process that releases the gas allows the gas to seep up through the rocks into the groundwater above. (typical gas reservoirs rely on impermeable rock structures above that have trapped the gas. Shales can be underneath porous rock without losing the hydrocarbons they contain.)

              So there is the potential for a selection effect to come into play here: it may be that wells drilled in the vicinity of localities that are good candidates for fracking have higher levels of methane than those that do not

              However, the study did analyze water from sites at various distances from the gas extraction wells and found that the closest ones had more methane and had a composition matching fossil fuel, while those sites farther from the gas production had much less methane and had markers for recent biological origin. The underlying shale formations do not change drastically over the horizontal distances involved in the measurements. So it seems pretty obvious, if not absolutely proven, that the methane in the water comes from the operations of the extraction companies.

        • Re:but but (Score:4, Informative)

          by rabun_bike (905430) on Tuesday May 10, 2011 @09:29AM (#36081964)
          Therein lies many problems. The earth's crust is not one nice consistent pancake. It has many different layers of rock and caverns as well as underwater rivers and lakes. To get to the shale you have to drill through all the other stuff. And you don't even know what you are drilling through in the first place. You just make a guess and then hope your "cement job" keeps the other layers of the earth from interaction with your dill hole. And there isn't just one hole. They drill hundreds of holes. There is no precision to this and methane gas knows no boundaries if it can find a way up the other layers of earth. What everyone is terrified of is a blow out since these drilling fluids are under intense heat and pressure and then a contamination of the aquifer with drilling fluids and potentially gas, brine, drilling fluid and even oil.
        • Re:but but (Score:4, Interesting)

          by ukemike (956477) on Tuesday May 10, 2011 @10:21AM (#36082712) Homepage

          It's easy enough to blame fracturing, but the process of fracturing itself is occurring deep within some producing formation.

          It's also easy enough to blame the massive increase of CO2 in our atmosphere on the nearly perfectly correlated massive increase of human industry pumping CO2 into the atmosphere but that would be inconvenient for my energy stock prices so I choose not to believe it.

          Did even you RTFA? (In this case I mean did you read the fracking Abstract of the scientific paper in question? ;-) That's a huge degree of correlation, and the chemistry of the hydrocarbons in the water match the chemistry of the gas in the nearby wells.

          Yeah sure the fracturing does take place much deeper than the water table, they have to pump the fracturing fluids down to the shale which involves pumping them THROUGH the water table. Yes I know that the procedure involves sealing the well hole before pumping the nasty stuff down there, but when they drill hundreds of wells in a region only a few have to leak to ruin the local water table. Of course the oil/gas extraction business has such a great safety record and they have never made a mess of things before, so why should we believe science when we can believe BP? I think you should consider not drinking the water from your local well, obviously the fracking fluids are messing with your thinking process.

          Oh and by the way, those fracturing fluids, as revealed in the very interesting movie Gasland, are comprised of over 500 chemicals including several known human carcinogens and many suspected human carcinogens. So it is not like this is some academic question. Water tables all over the nation are turning foul with this stuff.
          BR Here is another thing to ponder. Until very recently this technique for extracting gas was very rare. Towards the end of the Bush administration, this particular industry was exempted from compliance withe clean water act. Right after that fracking becomes the most important new development in energy extraction. Correlation or causation? It seems pretty clear to me that someone was afraid that they would be unable to comply with clean water regulations so they didn't bother until they made sure that their ass was covered.

        • Re:but but (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Rei (128717) on Tuesday May 10, 2011 @04:57PM (#36087500) Homepage

          Actually, if you read the abstract, you'll see that they found no evidence of fraccing brines ending up in the water itself -- only the gas. Curious, eh? This, combined with the incredible depth of the reservoirs being fracced vs. the aquifers and the number of layers of cap rock between the fracced reservoirs and the aquifers leads me to the hypothesis that it's not the fracced reservoir itself that's leaking; it's the recovery wells. This could be some combination of poor cementing, poor steel casing/attachments, better gas permeability in the conditions present than anticipated, gas developing its own channel to the surface just outside the well through the weak points in the strata created by the well, etc. Thoughts?

          This hypothesis could be tested. In some wells you could inject a tracer gas into the reservoir after fraccing but before production begins, while in others you could inject it into the recovery wells just below the point of the aquifer. You could then draw the following conclusions:

          Reservoir: Yes, Well: Yes: Either there are multiple paths for the gas to reach the surface, or more likely, the gas is leaking up through or around the casing of the non-producing well.
          Reservoir: No, Well: Yes: Gas is leaking out from the production well, but no significant amount is able to move up through/around the casing from the reservoir.
          Reservoir: Yes, Well: No: No: Gas is leaking up directly from the fracced reservoir, independent of the well.
          Reservoir: No, Well: No: This would throw this study into doubt.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        "Bottled in Scranton, Pennsylvania"

        Look at the bright side, maybe you can really run your car on 'water' now

      • by Bengie (1121981)

        until you need to wash your clothes/dishes/water-lawn with bottled water

    • by darjen (879890)

      Typical, pinning the blame on anti-regulation. When various governments are actually what is protecting these gas companies from lawsuit damages.

      • "When various governments are actually what is protecting these gas companies from lawsuit damages."

        right, aka anti-regulation. the government has to police corporations, not be in their pocket. your definition of regulation is odd

      • Re:but but (Score:5, Insightful)

        by hrvatska (790627) on Tuesday May 10, 2011 @09:40AM (#36082102)

        Typical, pinning the blame on anti-regulation. When various governments are actually what is protecting these gas companies from lawsuit damages.

        Just as it's difficult or impossible to attribute individual cases of lung cancer to smoking tobacco products, it's usually difficult to impossible to prove that the contamination of an individual well that provides drinking water came from fracking. When you don't know who caused a well to go bad, who do you sue? The protection that the drilling companies are receiving from government comes in the form of lack of oversight and transparency lobbied for by the drilling companies and land owners who stand to make more money if there is a less oversight and transparency. NY state has delayed issuing drilling permits for fracking pending the release of a study by the EPA. Drilling companies and land owners have been poring money into the state capital in an attempt to persuade government officials to permit drilling to start as soon as possible, regardless of the outcome of the report. Many small towns in NY state that rely on centralized wells for the entire community are surrounded by land owners who want to start drilling as soon as possible. If the community's water well goes bad, who gets sued? Is it possible to determine which land owner or drilling company among many is to blame? Best practices, based on the most up to date research and enforced by good regulation and oversight, will do more to prevent ground water contamination than any number of after the fact lawsuits.

    • by tmosley (996283)
      Yes, regulation is bad. However, the homeowners who were screwed by these guys have every right to sue the living shit out of them, and force them to ship in water for them and their farms, and pay punitive damages.

      When everything is owned by someone with a genuine economic interest, there are no externalities.
      • Re:but but (Score:5, Insightful)

        by bit trollent (824666) on Tuesday May 10, 2011 @09:05AM (#36081600) Homepage

        Almost nobody owns mineral rights beneath their own home. Since your neighbors or the person who owns your neighbors' mineral rights can still pollute your air and water, you can't even stop natural gas fracking from occurring in your neighborhood.

        Natural gas fracking often lowers property values. Since polluted wastelands aren't unappealing to most people you can count on your home losing value when your neighbors consent to fracking.

        Who are you supposed to sue and for what when natural gas drilling ruins your home's value? Has anyone even successful sued over home value loss due to drilling? Your neighbor who consented to it? The corporation who is following every law and regulation?

        We need regulation to protect people from corporations whose only interest is profit. Otherwise people are given bottled water as a legal settlement for the wholesale pollution and destruction of their land and air.

      • When everything is owned by someone with a genuine economic interest, there are no externalities.

        Who owns the atmosphere?

      • The problem with regulation by lawsuit is that the legal system is slow and clumsy. Suppose I figured that negligence by the frackers had done $5000 worth of damage to me. I'd have to file suit, and to have a chance I'd have to engage a lawyer, and they aren't cheap. I'd likely be out another $5K before the case got to court. The gas company would have lawyers working for them, and they'd try procedural means to drag out the case. Once it got to trial, it would be my lawyer and me versus a lot of lawye
    • by mangu (126918) on Tuesday May 10, 2011 @08:59AM (#36081526)

      Imagine if your neighbor's toilet clogged and, instead of calling a plumber, he started taking a dump over the fence on your garden.

      What would you do?

      A) call the police

      or

      B) complain about lack of a regulation on taking a dump over the fence?

      There are already laws in effect stating that no one is allowed to poison their neighbor's water. However, since natural gas extraction *is* regulated, and the regulations do not prohibit fracking, then an exception is created allowing the corporations to poison the water in this manner.

      The problem with regulations is that when you create them, instead of using the existing laws, something that would not normally be permitted could be allowed by the regulations by default.

  • New? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Syssiphus (1043474) on Tuesday May 10, 2011 @08:18AM (#36081192)
    New study? Ever seen 'Gasland'?
    • Re:New? (Score:5, Informative)

      by blueg3 (192743) on Tuesday May 10, 2011 @09:26AM (#36081908)

      A documentary is a collection of anecdotes. A study is a presentation of systematically-gathered empirical data.

      Also, a study can be new while not introducing a new idea. In fact, many or most aren't, but are instead done to test a suspicion or hypothesis based on anecdotal evidence.

    • the problem with Josh Fox's movie is that the Gas industry hired a bunch of PR flacks to shoot him down at every available opportunity. if you surf any internet forum comment thread on this issue, you will see post after post after post that use classic PR strategies, like avoiding the question, changing the subject, and personal attacks against Fox, (it almost reads like a page out of Team Themis' plans against Glen Greenwald), etc.

      Another thing the PR flacks rely on is the lack of 'scientific proof'. They

  • by crow_t_robot (528562) on Tuesday May 10, 2011 @08:19AM (#36081198)
    Gasland:
    http://www.gaslandthemovie.com/ [gaslandthemovie.com]

    You know fracking is bad when you can put a lighter up to a running facet in your kitchen and a fireball erupts.
    • by iaoth (1905262) on Tuesday May 10, 2011 @08:36AM (#36081340) Homepage

      You know fracking is bad when you can put a lighter up to a running facet in your kitchen and a fireball erupts.

      But what about this rebuttal movie clip, "The Truth About Gasland", with folk music and happy children and puppies and sunshine?
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y1W8MnveFq8 [youtube.com]

      • by 0100010001010011 (652467) on Tuesday May 10, 2011 @08:47AM (#36081436)

        The Truth About Gasland [anga.us]

        Now be honest, who would you trust more. Some dirty hippy driving around with a video camera making a film.

        OR

        America's Natural Gas Alliance. That's an American ALLIANCE with AMERICANS. You don't hate America do you?
        Plus, REGULATORS found it wasn't natural gas. If you can't trust American regulators, who can you trust?

        • Seeing that they are the basis for many of the rebuttals to the exaggerated claims in the Gasland movie?

          This is a problem I generally have with these groups that produce movies such as Gasland (Michael Moore is similar). They love to exaggerate, misdirect, and some out right lie in their presentations, all to make their case more dire. They love to incite fear and then quickly go elsewhere when objections are raised. They are quick to dismiss any objection under the head nodding, wink wink, type claim that

          • if you would watch the movies you would understand that Josh Fox is nothing like Michael Moore. he doesn't ambush any executives in order to get a video clip of him chasing after some guy in a parking lot or elevator lobby (Moore).

            the executives just flat out don't talk to him. he calls and calls and calls. who will talk to him? dozens of homeowners, a handful of scientists, and an obviously conflicted regulator. Fox's film main strength is that a lot of it is very dispassionate.

          • by clang_jangle (975789) on Tuesday May 10, 2011 @10:01AM (#36082406) Journal
            Yeah all that sounds real nice, except that I grew up in NE PA and in that area it used to be people used the same wells and springs for generations. The well house on my grandparents' property has been continuously functional for longer than the USA has had independence from England. In light of that, what you're saying just doesn't seem applicable, fair, or even sincere, frankly.
    • You know fracking is bad when you can put a lighter up to a running facet in your kitchen and a fireball erupts.

      Obligatory youtube clip: inflamable tap water [youtube.com]

    • *koff* [consumerist.com]

    • by nedlohs (1335013)

      No you don't. since you don't know that was caused by the fracking.

      If it started or increased in frequency or severity after the fracking started then you have a correlation. But you don't "know fracking is bad".

      The study the article is about, however, that's much better evidence that "fracking is bad".

      • I'm sure those people lived in those houses for 20 years passing out in the shower from methane exposure and getting ill everyday from their drinking water were thinking that was totally natural and it was just a "chance occurrence" that the gas company showed up and they saw the opportunity to make big money.... /sarcasm.

        Your argument doesn't pass the "smell test" figuratively or literally.
      • by Andy Dodd (701)

        Dimock's water ran clean prior to fracking operations commencing.

  • by chemicaldave (1776600) on Tuesday May 10, 2011 @08:19AM (#36081202)
    Yeah, it probably is contaminating the water table, but do you have any idea how much these people get paid by the drillers to operate on their land? It's a lot of money, and in most cases it's enough that these people have their water trucked in and wont have to worry about it. Bad for the environment? Sure, but do you really thing a struggling farmer cares about the environment when his business is failing?
    • by Jaysyn (203771)

      Problem is that contaminated water doesn't stay in one place.

      • Unfortunately that's not the biggest concern for residents right now. They're fighting just to get their piece of the pie. But Gov. Corbett has staunchly opposed any drilling tax.
    • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Tuesday May 10, 2011 @08:27AM (#36081262) Journal
      Anecdotally, the first person in a given area is paid relatively well. Their neighbors are then politely reminded, off the record, that they can either accept the er, generous, offer being made, or they can end up with poisoned groundwater anyway, and the drillers will just have to wait a bit longer for the gas under their property to diffuse through the porous substrata toward the wells next door...

      If pollutants respected property lines, this would be much less of a problem...
    • They are equally entitled to clean drinking water. And the people who dont own the property in apartment complexes are not getting anything. And the locally grown produce getting sprayed with this stuff, which is then fed to kids, livestock. They arent getting paid. If they cannot mine this valuable substance without contaminating the water, then they should have to completely replace the water supply with water piped in from a clean location. Every house, every yard, every farm well replaced wit

      • I'm not saying this isn't affecting the water or that it's only the land owners' business. My point is that you shouldn't blame the land owners for taking the payments. This is the poorest area of Pennsylvania.
        • So it is okay to ruin the environment and jeopardize the health of everyone in the area for money, but only if you are poor?

          • Are you really blaming the landowners? Money is a powerful tool.
          • by Bucc5062 (856482)

            Ask that question to the coal industry (re: West Virginia). I bet their answer is a resounding YES! followed up by stating "look at the jobs we are creating. Why without dangerous, environmental destroying mining these people would have nothing to live for. See, we are saving lives".

      • My guess would be: locally grown produce can be sprayed with methane water without problems. In such small droplets methane will dissipate fast enough to prevent most of the contamination of the produce. Next the produce is left on the field to grow for a wile, giving it ample time to dissipate the rest of the methane.
        Drinking the water directly may be a problem, but I would guess it isn't, since methane is a natural expel gas for humans (in some farts). The fire hazard is another problem.
        IANAEOTS, and
        • the fluid the pump down into the ground is a cocktail of chemicals dreamed up in a lab to better crack rocks apart. the levels of chemicals were even kept secret from the public for a long time.

          you can get more information about the chemicals in a big mac than about what the gas companies are pumping into your water supply.

    • So by that logic I should be able to say allow mercury to be dumped in my backyard since I get paid good money for that. As the cat in the hat says, "I am sure you mother will not mind!"
    • considering the tens of thousands of farmers who depend on underground aquefers for the water they use on their crops and to water their cattle, i just dont understand your post, at all.

      the gasland film even has a rancher on it whose cattle are suffering becasue of contamination.

  • Free gas at the faucet !
    • by Fauxbo (1393095)

      I've invented a car that runs on water, but that water needs to come from the taps in PA.

  • by pstorry (47673) on Tuesday May 10, 2011 @08:35AM (#36081318) Homepage

    "Some of you may have noticed if you've tried to drink during the course of the last few years that your drinking water is now natural gas. That's because we've been doing invisible drilling in your area, which is turning your drinking water into natural gas. Don't worry, that just means it's working."
    - Frack Johnson

  • by wombatmobile (623057) on Tuesday May 10, 2011 @08:56AM (#36081502)

    As Kevin Grandia wrote [huffingtonpost.com] last year:

    In 2005, at the urging of Vice President Cheney, fracking fluids were exempted from the Clean Water Act after the companies that own the patents on the process raised concerns about disclosing proprietary formulas - if they had to meet the Act's standards they would have to reveal the chemical composition which competitors could then steal. Fair enough, but this also exempts these companies from having to meet the strict regulations that protect the nation's freshwater supply.

    • by rabun_bike (905430) on Tuesday May 10, 2011 @09:20AM (#36081826)
      Yes. And those formulas contain a special combination of some of nasty chemicals such as benzine, toluene and naphthalene. The chemicals are needed to dissolve the shale rock and release the trapped gas. But even more alarming is the millions of gallons of water (a finite resource) intentionally polluted in the process. This polluted water has to be deposed of and currently some gas companies are injected the polluted water into deep wells in Arkansas. Even Fox News is reporting that the drilling and injecting of this polluted water in Arkansas might be causing thousands of earthquakes. There really is nothing "green" about the whole fracking process except in some ways the actual methane that is extracted when you compare to taking off the tops of the mountain in West Virginia and Kentucky.
      http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2011/03/01/fracking-earthquakes-arkansas-man-experts-warn/
  • by ozbird (127571)
    It isn't called "fracking" for nothing.
  • The methane can also originate from old leaking well case as mentionned in the PNAS study.
  • Shoal gas from the America reduces Europe's dependence on Russia and Iran. That is vital for us. It seems that the North Sea gas deposits are getting depleted and Norway is far from able to satisfy Europe's need for gas. Russia is using natural gas as a tool for achieving her political goals. For obvious reasons, Iran is an even less trustworthy supplier.

    For the foreseeable future, America's LNG seems to be the way to free ourselves from the energy racketeering, exercised by hostile Asian countries. I

  • It's not enough to pursue fossil fuels to the point of destroying the environment on a global scale, but what really, really pisses me off is that the 10 motherf@#$ in control of the world's supply are so crazed with insatiable greed that they can, and will, continue to as they wish with no regard for anything. They are unstoppable becuase they own the lawmakers.

    I'm looking at you especially, Walker; you kochsucker.

  • Instead of condemning fracking as a public health risk due to methane release in the ground water, why don't we come up with a simple separator that could be connected to people's wells that would siphon off the methane and either store it or use it to heat the home or generate electricity?

    • by pjabardo (977600)
      There are several reasons why this idea doesn't work. First the quantities of contaminants needed to ruin the water for consumption are much smaller than the quantitites needed to generate any useful amount of energy. Along with methane there are several other chemicals that contaminate the water and if they are dissolved in the water, it is not always easy to separate them and some of them can be very nasty.

"Tell the truth and run." -- Yugoslav proverb

Working...