The fledgling US shale gas exploration is making headlines not only in every media outlet ,but also every corner of business arena is feeling its trembling and economic benefits have acquired the center stage in this debate as it has revolutionized the entire energy sector raising the US gas reservoir from conventional source, and now having drilled thousand of new wells in the rocky mountain in the south, now energy sector is uplifting its operations to the east, the west Virginia and western New york in the United states as well. According to Wikipedia, the numbers of unconventional natural gas wells in the US have reached up to 25145 from 18485 since 2007.
Even though, the whole picture is being painted seems amusing as nation has started reaping its benefits like Job creation, lower gas price and additional value added tax and tax returns, yet knowing its detrimental environmental and health impacts are indispensable that are still obscure from the vast majority of people.
Water quality impact:
Although the gush of shale has enticing picture, yet its environmental impact cannot be underestimated. To know the other part of the story associated with it, we need to know how shale gas is produced and extracted so that we can have an idea about its potential influences. Fracking technology is used to extract the gas in which dangerous chemicals along with large quantity of water and sands injected into the wells and this procedure is being suspected of polluted water in various US states and cities like Virginia, Arkansas, Pennsylvania, Texas and Wyoming as has been reported.
Air quality and Surface water contamination:
Global warming has always been main concern for many decades in the international community, but another perplexing side of this picture is methane because methane emission from wells raised the concerns of global warming while surface water contamination is also highly likely as overflow at the well site or discharge of flow back can affect surface water quality as a result of hydraulic factoring.
Hydraulic fracturing and water wastage:
The significance of Water for human being does not need any introduction. So, According to media reports, the process of hydraulic fracturing result in water wastage as 1.2 and 3.5 million gallons water is used in per well in this technology (with large projects using up to 5 million gallons. Back in 2008 and 2009, 650 million gallon per year was used due to hydraulic fracturing that is 0.8 percent of annual water use overlying in the concerned area in the Marcellus shale.
Toxic Injected fluid and Flow back:
Research suggests that hydraulic fracturing include prop pants, radionuclide and other chemicals. According to research, fracturing product includes more than 650 possible human carcinogen ingredients under the safe drinking water act. Besides it, flow back is the injected water fluid that flows back to the surface along with oil, gas and brine. Instances of illegal dumping of water in California, Virginia and Ohio have been reported in California and Virginia.
However, Proper safeguard like not allowing the leaky system, using sound drilling techniques, reducing toxic in the process and others can be helpful to use this shale gas advantage because nature has granted us the gas for utilization.
Author: Humair Rana