I’m concerned about fracking coming to Western North Carolina, so I’m going to a hearing about it in Cullowhee on Friday, Sept. 12. Please consider joining us. (See wncfrackfree.org.)
Fracking threatens drinking water wells, which more than 3 million people in North Carolina rely on for their drinking water.
North Carolina’s shale formations are closer to the surface and to groundwater than those in other states, making water contamination even more likely.
Up to 9 million gallons of water, mixed with sand and toxic chemicals, are needed to frack just one well. That’s a lot of stress on local water supplies. In the U.S., there are now over 280 billion gallons of toxic wastewater left from fracking. This wastewater is stored in surface ponds and leaches into wells.
Nationwide, there have been more than 1,000 documented cases of water contamination, causing sensory, respiratory and neurological damage.
Benzene, lead, mercury, uranium and radium are released from shale during fracking and enter the wastewater. Bromide in the wastewater mixes with chlorine in water treatment, creating trihalomethanes (which cause cancer). The fracking fluid itself contains ethylene glycol, methanol, hydrochloric acid, formaldehyde, methanol and more.
North Carolina lacks discharge standards for many of these contaminants. There is no requirement for their removal from wastewater. State law provides no remedy for people whose health or property are destroyed by contamination.
Fracked natural gas is no better than coal. Methane traps up to 25 times more heat in the atmosphere than CO2, and fracked wells leak 40-60 percent more methane than conventional natural gas wells.