Study: Fracking is Depleting U.S. Drinking Water Sources at Catastrophic Rates

October 29, 2019 at 2:13 pm

Fracking permanently destroys 5 million gallons of drinking water per well. The radioactive wastewater is so toxic it has to be buried deep underground where it causes earthquakes.

The amount of fresh water used to “frack” (hydraulically fracture) each well used for the extraction of shale oil and gas rose by 770 percent between 2011 and 2016, a 2018 Duke University study finds.

Thats because wells are getting bigger (longer horizontally) in order to extract more gas and oil, meaning more water is used in the process of “fracturing” the shale rock formations.

A study by University of Central Arkansas published earlier in 2018 found the amount of fresh water used in Arkansas is up to 5 million gallons per well.

As the lengths of fracking wells continue to grow, the amount of water used to create them will continue to rise, the Duke University researchers predict.

An interaction between a chemical slurry and ancient shale it’s used to fracture causes the wastewater to become radioactive.

Because it contains toxins like barium and radioactive radium, it cannot be put back into to the streams/groundwater it was taken from and must be injected into deep wells where we all hope never springs up from.

If the intensification of the number and size of fracking wells continues at the same rate, depletion of our drinking water sources could increase 50-fold by 2030 in some regions.

This could be a serious problem for people living in arid or semi-arid regions in the Western United States, where groundwater supplies are already stressed, the researchers say.

“After more than a decade of fracking operation, we now have more years of data to draw upon from multiple verifiable sources,” Duke Professor of Geochemistry Avner Vengosh told

“We clearly see a steady annual increase in hydraulic fracturing’s water footprint, with 2014 and 2015 marking a turning point … While the extraction of shale gas and tight oil has become more efficient over time as the net production of natural gas and oil from these unconventional wells has increased, the amount of water used for hydraulic fracturing and the volume of wastewater produced from each well have increased at much higher rates.”