The ongoing Fracking debate continues as researchers have discovered yet another reason that we ought to rethink the whole Fracking issue. Despite all of the evidence that concludes that Fracking is an environmental nightmare, Fracking has now been link to the stimulation of earthquake activities.
New laws governing the location of the waste-water generated from Fracking could come into place, but is this enough? Fracking generates huge quantities of “waste-water” and in a time when water is becoming a valuable commodity, can we afford to be creating any water waste?
Researchers think an increase in waste-water injected into the ground by drilling operators may be the cause of a sixfold increase in the number of earthquakes that have shaken the central part of the U.S. from 2000 to 2011, according to a U.S. Geological Survey study. The demand for underground disposal wells has increased with the proliferation of shale-gas drilling, a technique that produces millions of gallons of waste-water a well.
U.S. government scientists are focusing on the disposal of waste-water from natural gas drilling as a possible cause for the increase in the number of earthquakes that have shaken the central part of the U.S. since 2000. The number of earthquakes in the central part of the U.S. rose to 134 in 2011, up from 50 in 2009.
Links between disposal wells and earthquakes in Arkansas, Ohio and other states has raised public concern, according to Scott Anderson, senior policy adviser for the Environmental Defense Fund in Austin, Texas. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which sets standards for wells under the Safe Drinking Water Act, said it is working with states to develop guidelines to manage seismic risk.
“Basically, people need to be told not to locate their disposal wells in active seismic areas,” Anderson said in an interview. “But the total percentage of wells that would be impacted by those restrictions almost certainly would be small.”
U.S. Geological Survey researchers found that, for three decades prior to 2000, seismic events in the nation’s midsection averaged 21 a year. They jumped to 50 in 2009, 87 in 2010 and 134 in 2011, according to the study, which was presented April 18 at the annual meeting of the Seismological Society of America.