From the Washington Post: “This mystery was solved: Scientists say chemicals from fracking wastewater can taint fresh water nearby.”*
The article itself mentions one study done by the USGS looking upstream and downstream from a single wastewater storage site in near Lochgelly, WV.
But a study by the U.S. Geological Survey appears to have answered a critical question about the millions of gallons of chemical-laced water that are injected into the wells to fracture rocks and release trapped gas. Is there any cause for concern when that water is stored later, whether in treatment facilities or special underground wells?
The short answer is yes…
So, apparently the “mystery of fracking” was hidden at a single wastewater storage facility a small town in the middle of West Virginia coal country, and not connected directly to any actual fracking operations at the thousands upon thousands of fracking locations across more than a dozen different states. No wonder scientists have been having so much trouble finding evidence of the problems created by fracking: they have been looking at sites where fracking is actually taking place.
Granted, reporters often do not write their own headlines. In any business — fracking wastewater disposal, newpaper headline writing, actual journalism, etc. — people get sloppy. Understandable. And obviously, a bad headline doesn’t actually injure anyone (but then all that get reported is that certain elements were found downstream from the disposal site in quantities well above certain regulatory standards. As far the reporter tells us, the leaky disposal site has not actually harmed anyone either. We may note that the disposal site in question has long been accused of failing to maintain operations properly at least as far back as 2008, so left unsolved is whether properly operated wastewater disposal sites are a danger or not).
The newspaper article continues “long story short” to reports of endocrine disruptor activities in the Chesapeake Bay, though as far as I can tell the stream in question feeds eventually into the Gulf of Mexico. Still, it is the principle of the matter that matters, right?, even if the principle or what exactly it matters about or to whom are a bit fuzzy.
The real “mystery of fracking” is why some journalists lose all sense of perspective when hydraulic fracturing is the subject of an article.
*Not that I’ve used TinyURL to link to the site in order to reduce any link credit the headline and Washington Post article might get from generating online traffic. Don’t want to encourage clickbait headlines.