Everyone seems to know about peak oil, and perhaps it is that knowledge or perhaps propaganda that is driving the Gold Rush as companies and speculators toss BILLIONS into Shale Gas Leases, and then trade them like water...which brings us to peak water that people seem too know little about. You see, we as a world are starting to run out of this most precious of commodities, and the biggest USER of that water is the Energy Industry...IE, how many people know that Indian Point sucks in 2.4 BILLION GALLONS of water from the Hudson River each and every day to cool those two dangerous reactors?
Which brings us to the DIRTY SECRET that the (un)Natural Gas industry would prefer you not know about...their MASSIVE CONSUMPTION of, and POLLUTION of our most valuable resource...CLEAN DRINKABLE WATER. So, if you know nothing else about Shale Gas wells when you make a decision to support or oppose it, know these 4 UGLY SECRETS about the Natural Gas Industry Marcellus play water usage:
1. Shale Gas Wells using fracking and horizonal drilling are are very thirsty for water...how much water you ask? Upwards of 6 million gallons of water is needed per well, each time that well is 'fracked'...that is a LOT OF WATER!
2. Twenty to forty percent of that water pumped down the well comes back out of the dark abyss ruined, polluted and no longer fit for use, can be radioactive, and and needs to be disposed of.
3. This diseased water is known as "flowback" or "produced water" and contains frac fluids (a lethal mix of chemicals that the industry hides from us) and is a salty brine with high TDS (total dissolved solids) that really should not make its way into our drinking water supplies, or our sewage treatment plants, but OFTEN DOES.
4. This RESIDUAL WASTE water needs to be disposed of properly, but most times is not, haulers dumping it on the sides of roads, into storm drains, or in some cases, it is spilled out onto the ground at well sites, or worse, holding ponds holding this legal concoction break, the waste waters ruining the land of adjoining property owners.
5. Water 'use & abuse' is the dark underbelly of horizontal gas well drilling in Marcellus Shale and you can find numerous examples of companies like Chesapeake Energy routinely ignoring regulations and limitations on their water usage as they flout the law, and simply do what they want to keep their profits flowing.