The state of California is in the midst of a drought and sure could use some water right now. Too bad at least 100 of the state’s aquifers may have been contaminated by energy companies.
What’s the story?
Fracking is a controversial technique used to extract gas that was previously inaccessible. To “frack,” a highly pressurized fluid is pumped into the ground. That fluid frees gas that is trapped between rock. The process involves storing the fracking waste fluid underground.
Surprisingly or not, the government explicitly allowed for energy companies to inject their waste directly into aquifers. The government’s reasoning was that the aquifers they cleared for intentional pollution were “useless for drinking and farming because the waster was either of poor quality, or too deep underground to easily access,” reported the highly-informative ProPublic.org.
California’s oil and gas supervisor was quoted as saying that there has been no evidence that the state’s “drinking water has been affected.”
So What’s the Problem?
You may be asking what’s the problem then after reading that no drinking water has been contaminated, nor has any fracking waste been pumped into a useful well. There are many answers your potential question:
1. Vague Instructions
The original maps, indicating which aquifers were ok to pullute, literally had hand-drawn lines on them. The poor maps made it vague to decipher which aquifers were protected by environmental laws and which were extempted for pollution.
2. Incorrect Presumptions
With technological improvements, aquifers that were once too deep to pump could have become an important source of water in the future.
Fracking waste has continually been pumped into the ground at pressures too high for their wells to constrain. Cracked well walls would allow for the waste to seep out and contaminate clean water.
Hope in Sight
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