Fracking Industry’s Water Use Rises

Water use for fracking by oil and gas operators in the Marcellus Shale region rose 20 percent between 2011 and 2016 as longer laterals were drilled to fracture more gas-bearing rock, even though the pace of well development slowed in response to low natural gas prices, a Duke University study said on Wednesday.
The rise was the smallest of any of the six U.S. regions studied, including the Permian Basin area of Texas, where water use surged by 770 percent over the period.
The study also said the volume of fracking waste water produced in the Marcellus – which includes Pennsylvania, West Virginia, eastern Ohio and southern New York, where fracking is banned — rose four-fold to 600,000 gallons in 2016, forcing energy companies to rely increasingly on holding the waste in underground injection wells. Read more.

Water News

Is Nuclear Neighbor Polluting Our Water?

Pollution tied to infant deaths and cancer in adults has shown up for decades in the groundwater beneath a nuclear fuel factory less than two miles from Michael Daugherty’s house.The uranium leak in Hopkins, South Carolina occurred in June. It was reported to state and federal authorities on July 12, according to the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control and the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

Mildred Myers, a Gadsden resident, said she is glad DHEC is investigating, but that she always has been worried about the Westinghouse plant. The recent spill only reinforces her concerns, said Myers, a founder of the Lower Richland community group, S.C. Environment Watch.

“They always say they have got it under control and they are doing this or that. But they really have not done anything yet that is very efficient at cleaning things up,’’ Myers said. “So many things have occurred and things have not really gotten better.’’  Read more.

Backyard Talk

Is your child ready for school? What’s in the school’s water?

As parents we are concerned that our children have all they need for school. We go to the store with our list of supplies in hand that was provided by this year’s teachers. Stand in line with screaming children, irritated and tired parents. But we get through it.
There is an assumption that the school is safe. That the air and drinking water will not harm the children but rather foster a healthy environment to learn and play.
But what if that is wrong?  I asked a friend recently if their children’s school tested the water for lead. She said I received a letter from the school that said the water was safe, so I’m feeling pretty good.
As it turns out the school used the testing results for the city water as evidence of safety. Just because the water leaves the city treatment plant clean and safe does not ensure that when it comes out of the faucet at school it’s clean. So many people are duped by this assertion of safety.
Where the water moves from the city service line into the school feeder line(s) those lines could be made of lead and contaminate the water. Or, inside the school plumbing could be lead pipes, lead solder, or other lead related plumbing fixtures.
So, to find out if your child’s school water is safe from lead you need to test every faucet. Has your school conducted that level of testing?  Probably not. It’s easy to do and yes it costs money but far less than it would cost if children were exposed and became sick.
No level of lead is exposure is safe for children. We need to protect our children from lead that can cause learning delays, especially in their schools.
Children are required to attend school, but schools aren’t required to test that their water is safe for children to drink! It is outrageous that in a country like the United States there is no federal law that requires schools to test the quality of their water at each discharge location.
That’s why we need a national bill that requires schools to test their water and protect the health of our children where they are trying to learn. Senator Duckworth (IL) has proposed a bill that would require schools to test their water, share results with communities, and fund projects that replace lead pipes or provide filters.
The Get the Lead Out of Schools Act mandates all schools to test for lead in their water and provides action grants to fix any contamination. Protect our children—contact your federal senators and make sure they support the Get the Lead Out of Schools Act when it goes to the Senate Floor.