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In the past two years, 1000s of new fracking wells have been drilled, many on the shores of lakes, rivers, and even drinking water reservoirs in the deserts of Utah.  North of Denver is now holier than Swiss cheese!

Use this link to the FrackFocus interactive map to find the fracking wells in your area.  If you click on the balloon for a specific well, you will find the recipe for the fracking fluid used as well as who drilled and the date the well was drilled.  I am not sure this is a complete list because, as I understand, this data includes information from ONLY the states that decided to cooperate.  I could be wrong.  Enjoy.  Use this date to create reports for your area.  Few people really understand just how huge the numbers of wells drilled over the past few years are.

This is a big story.  You can help spread the word via twitter.  But, before we get excited here, this is the EPA's "Progress Report" which will be followed by further studies, yaddy yadda yadda.  You might detect some dismay in this diary because, according to this EPA Progress Report "Many of the data come directly from the oil and gas industry and states with high levels of oil and gas activity."  Mostly from only nine (9) companies.  After all that has happened with "self-reporting" by industries, it's difficult to understand why the EPA would rely on the industry and states depending on a continual flow of these two cash crops for data.  

In short, EPA is saying they have relied heavily on the oil/gas industry and the states experiencing an economic boom from the fracking industry.  The Progress report is the BEGINNING of a much longer process which includes several other steps before EPA concludes whether or not fracking might have a negative impact on drinking water.  

EPA's Full Report isn't Due Out until 2014

The fact that the early progress report did not contain anything significantly negative is likely an encouraging sign for the fracking lobby.
Therefore, it's easy to conclude that, by the time all the designated experts chime in, it will be too late to save water in present heavily fracked areas.  

Look at how close to the Missouri River and the Lake Sakakawea Lake Reservior, North Dakota, these Fracking wells are.  

Where you see the RED LINE on the right, the Fracking site is approximately 400 feet from the Reservoir

3 Fracking Sites Near Water Reservior, Shell Creek Bay, North Dakota

This penninsula, just south of Newtown, North Dakota, is peppered with Fracking sites, many near the banks of the Lake Sakakawea.  The companies owning these wells are not included in the EPA's report.

Fracking Sites near Shell Creek Bay, Missouri River, North Dakota

Most now know that Fracking is exempt from key federal environmental regulations, thanks to a Bush Era ruling, known as the "Hallibuton Loophole."  No surprise there.  Halliburton fracked back in the late 1940s.

We can guess that Cheney and the oil/gas secret energy meetings included some fracking chit chat.

Here's why I am concerned.  I know people working in the fracking fields.  I know that liners for fracking waste water leaks. I know that some waste water ponds don't even have linings.  I know workers wear dosimeters to make sure they aren't exposed to too much radiation.  Do an Edit/Find search after opening the EPA Report for the word "radionuclides" (14 hits and defined on Page 259).  I know trucks crash and spill the toxic waste on road sides. I know wells fail and spew oil spills.  Anyone who knows people working in the fields can confirm what a mess it is out there.  There are also no lack of people reporting problems with their drinking water, like the famous video of faucet water being ignited by the home owner.

Apparently, such demonstrations like these are not scientific enough proof for the EPA.

Whiting North Dakota oil spill reported

Oil spill threatens Killdeer city well

That said I am CALLING ALL SCIENTISTS here on DKos to read through this first stage of EPA's just released start up reporting on the POSSIBLE NEGATIVE EFFECTS OF FRACKING ON DRINKING WATER

Matt Damon is releasing his FRACKING Movie, Promised Land.  Here's the trailer

Promised Land TRAILER (2012) - Matt Damon Movie HD

At the end of this diary is an exciting Google Earth Tool that shows where thousands of fracking welsl are located, many on the banks of major drinking water sources.  If you click on one of the green frowny faced disks, it will tell you which company owns the well, etc.  The instructions are included.

Actually EPA completed a report on August 14, 2011* (professionals from the Yucca Mountain project assisted).  I'm not sure if or whether the 2011 report impacts last week's report.  More on the 2011 report below.

From EPAs 2012 report:

In 2011, the EPA began research under its Plan to Study the Potential Impacts of Hydraulic Fracturing on Drinking Water Resources. The purpose of the study is to assess the potential impacts of hydraulic fracturing on drinking water resources, if any, and to identify the driving factors that may affect the severity and frequency of such impacts. Scientists are focusing primarily on hydraulic fracturing of shale formations to extract natural gas, with some study of other oil- and gas-producing formations, including tight sands, and coalbeds.

The EPA has designed the scope of the research around five stages of the hydraulic fracturing water cycle. Each stage of the cycle is associated with a primary research question:

Water acquisition: impacts of large volume water withdrawals from ground and surface waters on drinking water resources?

Chemical mixing: impacts of hydraulic fracturing fluid surface spills on or near well pads on drinking water resources?

Well injection:  impacts of the injection and fracturing process on drinking water resources?

Flowback and produced water: What are the possible impacts of flowback and produced water (collectively referred to as “hydraulic fracturing wastewater”) surface spills on or near well pads on drinking water resources?

Wastewater treatment and waste disposal: What are the possible impacts of inadequate treatment of hydraulic fracturing wastewater on drinking water resources?

YES, there are hopes, even designs,  of fracking water treatment plants producing water that can be released back into the area.

The baselines for the study are quite limited, as if the variables for what could go wrong are not infinite in scope:

Data from multiple sources have been obtained for review and analysis.

Many of the data come directly from the oil and gas industry and states with high levels of oil and gas activity.

Information on the chemicals and practices used in hydraulic fracturing has been collected from nine companies that hydraulically fractured a total of 24,925 wells between September 2009 and October 2010.

Additional data on chemicals and water use for hydraulic fracturing are being pulled from over 12,000 well-specific chemical disclosures in FracFocus, a national hydraulic fracturing chemical registry operated by the Ground Water Protection Council and the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commisson.

Only nine companies?  Good grief!  Which companies?

Here's the list of companies operating in just North Dakota, from a state website.

Current North Dakoa Well List

There are a lot more than nine companies listed.

I think anyone with common sense knows the inherent danger of destroying water in the fracking process.  It takes millions of gallons of water that is mixed with a chemical cocktail to drill each well!

We also know that the economy of North Dakota will tank if any proof of contamination is reported by the EPA.  No danger of that happening right away.  By the time the EPA and the industry experts massage the information, the drillers and hoards of workers will have moved on to new territory to drill baby drill, turning the USA into swiss cheese.

What could possibly go wrong?

The Sierra Club tries to answer that question in this article

Fracking Missouri River Water?

The six reservoirs along the river currently provide water storage primarily for flood control, reservoir recreation and releases for navigation. But the Corps' recent notice proposes that portions of the reservoir space be available for purchase by industry. That industry is assumed to include major demands from fracking interests.
Is there any question that the Missouri River is already providing millions and millions of gallons of water for fracking in North Dakota?


AGAIN, CALLING ALL SCIENTISTS - The EPA has done some work already.  In this document there is a list of fracking components.

Title: Hydraulic Fracturing Retrospective Case Study, Bakken Shale, Killdeer and Dunn County, ND - August, 2011

In this document this list of fracking chemicals is included on pages 41 - 42:

Fracking Fluid Components Page 1 0f 2
Fracking Fluid Components - Page 2 of 4
Fracking Fluid Components - Page 3 of 3

Well it's nice to see one FRACKING FLUID REPORT.

***  M U S T   S E E  ***

In the 2012 EPA report the list of FRACKING FLUID COMPONENTS can be found on pags 194 - 244

Check them out.


Also this is an amazing amount of work:

Someone has created a Google Earth map of FRACKING WELLS.  This is interative.

Open this website:

Click on FRACKING AMERICA and wait for the Green discs to appear

Just above the upper left bar that says EARTH, MOON, MARS etc, CLICK on the red Joy Stick to the right so the NAVIGATION TOOLS will appear.

In the upper right hand corner, you can click on the first icon on the left to get rid of whatever that guys name is playing Dr. Evil.

Then zoom in and you will find the DETAILED INFORMATION for each well.

As importantly, and more sadly, and especially in North Dakota, you will see that fracking wells are literally along the banks of the Missouri River and the huge reservoirs behind the dams controlling the flow of the great Missouri.


By the time EPA does its "due diligence" it will be too late to save many drinking water resources

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Comment Preferences

  •  Thank you WoE, this is (9+ / 0-)

    very helpful!  I was thinking I didn't have time to sign in today, but had to to say thanks for this.  Excellent work.

    I'm going to have to re - read this later!

    wherin we share a community blog for common goals for humanity.

    by worldforallpeopleorg on Wed Dec 26, 2012 at 09:30:56 AM PST

  •  I'll be looking this report over in coming weeks (5+ / 0-)

    And may write a diary or two on it.

    Regarding that video -- it may seem dramatic, but this has been observed in other locations unrelated to hydraulic fracturing. If you have a well open to methane-producing subsurface zones, you can get enough methane coming out of your faucet to light on fire.

    For example, the Minnesota Dept. of Natural Resources has a web page advising people who are plagued by naturally-occurring methane in their wells with what they can do about it.

    Because of misinformation that has been spread by those understandably concerned about hydraulic fracturing, most likely with the best intentions, the U.S. Geological Survey stated the following in a recent press release regarding methane in groundwater in New York:

    "Methane in groundwater has been much in the news on account of the potential association with unconventional energy development, but citizens need to be aware that methane occurs naturally in some groundwater systems," explained USGS Director Marcia McNutt. "When present, methane can be dangerous and yet difficult to detect by the consumer, hence the importance of testing groundwater for the presence of this dissolved gas."

    The findings are based on randomly selected water wells that draw their water from either bedrock or unconsolidated aquifers.  The samples were collected and analyzed by USGS from 1999—2011 across the state as part of several groundwater-quality studies.  The findings for New York are similar to those seen in studies of other northeastern U.S. states.

    "The research is important because it raises the awareness of the natural quality of people’s drinking water" said William Kappel, lead author of the study. "Well owners should work with local health departments to understand the quality of their drinking water to know if methane or other chemicals are present."

    Methane is a colorless, odorless, and tasteless gas that can be flammable or even explosive. It can trigger an explosion in enclosed or confined spaces containing oxygen coupled with an ignition source such as an open flame or electrical spark. Methane can also displace air in structures and act as an asphyxiate at high concentrations, replacing oxygen in the circulatory system. The burning of methane can also produce toxic gases.

    Methane comes from several different sources, and can be naturally released to the land surface in its gaseous state or from drinking-water wells as dissolved methane across most of New York and surrounding states.  Because of this, methane may be present in drinking-water wells, in the water produced from these wells, and may accumulate in the associated water-supply system.

    The City of Marsing, Idaho has long been plagued with naturally-occurring methane in its wells. It has been studying how to separate the methane and beneficially use it as a fuel. In June of this year, Marsing officials indicated they were planning to expand their pilot project to use naturally-occurring methane as fuel.

    So -- I encourage anyone viewing that or similar videos about methane in well water to keep in mind that it is not unique to hydraulic fracturing and it can be instead a naturally occurring condition.

    •  I should add (0+ / 0-)

      Neither Minnesota nor Idaho are areas where hydraulic fracturing for enhanced methane recovery is currently practiced.

      And Marsing is located near the Oregon border, hundreds of miles west of Wyoming shale gas plays.

      •  Not so fast (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        PinHole, aliasalias, marina

        This Bloomberg article takes a closer look

        Cabot’s Methodology Links Tainted Water Wells to Gas Fracking

        Not surprisingly, the gas industry sees "no problem", the independent scientists so see a problem and state that the EPAs research was "too limited"

        At the very least, an honest assessment of the methane gas problems in areas of fracking are "inclusive" which is little comfort to those relying on drinking water wells in those areas.

        Lastly, methane is only one of many potentially harmful pollutants.

        I think the radionuclides are a huge issue.  Why else would those working in oil/gas fracking sites be required to wear a dossimeter?

        It is also dismaying that the EPA is relying on the industry for examination.

        It's difficult to be happy knowing so many suffer. We must unite.

        by War on Error on Wed Dec 26, 2012 at 09:54:30 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  EDIT I meant "Inclusuve" above (0+ / 0-)

          It's difficult to be happy knowing so many suffer. We must unite.

          by War on Error on Wed Dec 26, 2012 at 10:17:24 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  There's nothing "fast" about it. (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          War on Error, Susipsych, LakeSuperior

          I'm not denying that unregulated and unmonitored hydraulic fracturing is capable of causing great harm.

          Further, I'm not denying that it can cause methane to occur in aquifers that formerly were not plagued with methane.

          What I am stating is that methane in water wells in some settings is a naturally-occurring phenomenon. I've been a hydrogeologist for three decades, and can recall seeing incidents of flammable methane from water wells in many locations long before the hydraulic fracturing boom began after the 1996 Safe Drinking Water Act Amendments.

          I was the onsite geologist in the 1980s when a driller I was working with on a well in the Pacific Northwest had his eyebrows burned off and his hair singed when the methane that had built up overnight in a well under construction ignited when he fired up his acetylene torch to bevel the well casing prior to welding on another length of casing. It sounded like a mortar being launched.

          And, by the way, it's a dosimeter, not a dossimeter. Whatever you may think of hydraulic fracturing (and I, for one, think it is being used unwisely in many settings where it shouldn't be used), I would hope you at least would support letting the manual laborers in the field have appropriate personal protective equipment. And, due to the presence of radioactive isotopes in tracers used during fracturing and naturally-occurring radioactive isotopes in subsurface drill cuttings and brine, a dosimeter is an appropriate device for monitoring workers' radioactive exposure.

          I know I have worn a dosimeter on some of the Superfund sites I investigated where radioactivity was a concern.  I'm glad the workers are being afforded at least that amount of monitoring. I hope their chemical exposures and physical risks are limited and monitored as well.

          •  Thank you. Corrected dosimeter (0+ / 0-)

            What I find interesting in the Bloomberg report is that the methane showing up in drinking water within fracking areas is identical to the methane in the Marcellus Shale area.

            Was/is the methane showing up prior to and/or outside fracking areas the same methane?

            It's difficult to be happy knowing so many suffer. We must unite.

            by War on Error on Wed Dec 26, 2012 at 10:52:30 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Generally, no (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              War on Error

              And I state that not because I've seen its isotopic signature -- I haven't. It's just that the methane that occurs naturally occurs, in some instances, hundreds or thousands of miles away from the limits of the Marcellus Shale Formation.

              Also keep in mind that problems with methane in well water has been around for a long time, long before hydraulic fracturing activities mushroomed after the 1996 SDWA amendments.  

              One last thing for now -- the report you referenced in Bloomberg didn't indicate an "identical" isotopic signature.  What it indicated was that gas producer Cabot Oil & Shale Corp. had documented a range of isotopic signatures, and the methane observed in two Pennsylvania water wells fell within that range.

              It's not identical, but it's within the reported range.  It's good information, and I hope it gets supplemented so we can start to draw some defensible scientific conclusions that can help re-regulate hydraulic fracturing under the Underground Injection Control provisions of the SDWA.

              •  Sadly, EPAs final report won't be released (0+ / 0-)

                until 2014.  Too late, imo.

                It's difficult to be happy knowing so many suffer. We must unite.

                by War on Error on Wed Dec 26, 2012 at 11:14:10 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  That's actually pretty fast (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  War on Error

                  Believe it or not.  I don't think it will be "too late" especially if it leads to regulations requiring corrective action.

                  •  What could the corrective action be (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:

                    for radionuclide contamination of soil, wells, and waste waters?

                    It's difficult to be happy knowing so many suffer. We must unite.

                    by War on Error on Wed Dec 26, 2012 at 11:30:27 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  It depends on the radionuclide (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      War on Error

                      Soil treatment options might include stabilization, excavation and disposal, soil washing, or natural attenuation.

                      Wells can be overdrilled and properly sealed.

                      Wastewater can be treated, with resulting sludge stabilized to prevent release of radioactivity to the environment.  

                      And all of this, should it be necessary, should be funded by the companies that caused the contamination in the first place.

                      •  How would sludge be stabilized? Cement? (0+ / 0-)

                        And it's beyond my comprehensive how radionuclides could be removed from water completely.

                        And the scope.  Literally millions of gallons of water are used for each well.  There are more than 25,000 wells, most of which were drilled from 2009 to present.

                        Funding.  Both the companies and the land owners leasing to the companies are profitting and the states/counties allowed the fracking.  IF, big if, liability were determined, would it be shared, perhaps even by the the FEDS who have also allowed fracking to forge forward with little stated understanding of its negative impact potentials?

                        So many questions.  That said, regardless of liability and treatment, just how much drinking water will be compromised in the johnny come lately oversight.

                        I am dismayed at the inability of those who know better to apply foresight instead of hindsight.

                        It's difficult to be happy knowing so many suffer. We must unite.

                        by War on Error on Thu Dec 27, 2012 at 08:04:09 AM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                  •  Fast? The EPA report (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:

                    mentions the 25,000 plus wells already in operation.  I'd say the report will be hindsight.

                    $Money trumps the environment again.

                    It's difficult to be happy knowing so many suffer. We must unite.

                    by War on Error on Wed Dec 26, 2012 at 11:31:46 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  There are a huge number of drinking water aquifers (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      War on Error

                      Only a small fraction of them are threatened by this practice.  

                      Building a legally defensible scientific case takes time.  Seasonality needs to be accounted for.  Trends need to be identified, measured, and corrected for. Data needs to validated, and interim results need to be critically reviewed with new data needs identified.  At the same time, budget priorities present real challenges to regulatory agencies.  

                      2014, in my opinion and experience, is pretty darn fast.

              •  Just added some pics to the intro (0+ / 0-)

                See how close to the Missouri River and Lake Sakakawea fracking wells are in North Dakota

                It's difficult to be happy knowing so many suffer. We must unite.

                by War on Error on Thu Dec 27, 2012 at 09:41:34 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

  •  Holy Crap!!! I followed the last link above..... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    War on Error, aliasalias

    My parents tree farm is probably sitting on top of a small pocket of shale basin.  I'm going to have to warn dad about it.  Over the years there have been a few people that have asked about buying the land.  Of course they never got anywhere near the market value of farm land / forest preserve and dad isn't interested in selling.  When he passes..... my sister and brother in law are greedy enough that they'll be willing to sell out.....

    Also, I didn't know that a huge chunk of Iowa was included in a shale basin.  I probably shouldn't have been surprised though because I know that there is coal mining in south central Iowa.  If there's coal, there's probably shale.

  •  here's from an ecowatch email I recieved today (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    which suggests the fight against fracking (and other extraction industry impacts) has been fought the wrong way in Courts.
    (Btw I also posted this on FB with the Coal Port Resistance.

    The Longmont saga—opportunities lost
    What’s happened in Longmont, Colorado is a perfect example of what activism looks like which fails to understand the tactical situation, and consequently, fails to directly challenge that platform of law.

    While the original draft of Longmont’s “fracking” law contained everything necessary to mount a direct attack on preemption and corporate “rights,” the proposed amendment was then unceremoniously stripped of those provisions. They were deemed to be simply “too radical” by the drafters of the measure to be adopted by popular vote.

    What could have the Longmont law looked like, if a different strategy had been pursued? Like the one created by the Pittsburgh City Council and now adopted by over a dozen other municipalities—which codified a community bill of rights recognizing peoples’ rights to clean air, pure water and a renewable energy future—and then banned gas drilling as a violation of those rights. The ordinance then stripped gas corporations in the City of the legal rights and powers that would otherwise be used to override the ordinance. The law also nullifies any State-issued permits that would allow fracking to proceed within the City.
    Why? Because the overriding issue isn’t “fracking,” it is the denial of local self-government. By failing to address the latter, the focus on the former all but guarantees an organizing dead-end—the same dead-end that has been pursued by environmental and other groups for the past forty years.
    Will they be overturned? Perhaps. But in many important ways, it doesn’t matter. While using our municipal governments to adopt local bills of rights is a novel approach, challenges to those laws inherently require the challenging corporation to validate each of the legal doctrines that allow them to override community lawmaking, and for a court to specifically uphold the application of each of those doctrines. In doing so, the process itself begins to reveal the otherwise-invisible apparatus which controls most aspects of our daily lives. The litigation thus becomes part of the organizing, rather than something best left just to the lawyers.

    And it’s the very fact that the current machinery is invisible to so many people that allows it to function. Making it work in front of communities intimately affected by the corporate activity—with the eyes of the community on the legal system itself which then requires the injury to occur—will inevitably lead to a movement demanding structural change. It is that focus on structural change that will then take aim at driving changes to the state constitution that embed a right to community self-government at the highest levels. Communities in Pennsylvania, Washington, New Mexico and New Hampshire are now moving in that direction—building statewide organizations which grow stronger with each confrontation between resource corporations and municipalities.

    without the ants the rainforest dies

    by aliasalias on Wed Dec 26, 2012 at 12:54:50 PM PST

    •  You might be interested (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      in this article: Teen files Climate Change Lawsuit Against State
      Pennsylvania's constitution guarantees clean water, etc. but the Republican ruled legislature passed Act 13 which voids any local or municipal zoning laws, leaving any area open to well drilling as permitted by the state. Undemocratic? Hell, yes. Also destructive to our beautiful state, the scenery, wildlife, water, air, soil, everything.

      A few townships are suing over the law, but the overall silence is deafening. One township dropped out of the lawsuit when it was given some of the impact fees from drilling--a very poor replacement for actual severance taxes. But hey, as long as Corbett is governor, gas drillers will never have to pay the true costs of drilling. He's a really good friend to O&G.

      •  thanks for that link , yes O&G have friends (0+ / 0-)

        everywhere but I think they'll find more enemies if, as the article I posted suggests, more of the "current machinery" ceases to be "invisible" and consequently exposed for the threats fracking (and building the massive coal terminal near here) really poses.
         I'm no lawyer but I don't see how some 'rights' (no water equals no life) can be legislated away, but like I said I'm no lawyer, but I do wish the best for all those townships fighting back.
        From your link,( and pretty much the same thing from my link).

        The people have a right to clean air, pure water, and to the preservation of the natural, scenic, historic and aesthetic values of the environment. Pennsylvania’s public natural resources are the common property of all the people, including generations to come. As trustee of these resources, the Commonwealth shall conserve and maintain them for the benefit of all the people.

        without the ants the rainforest dies

        by aliasalias on Wed Dec 26, 2012 at 03:15:05 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

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