Fracking Cracking Your Health

We often find ourselves using natural gases in things we don’t even know need them. Yet, not many come to see where these gases come from. Hydraulic Fracturing, is the process where millions of gallons of water, sand, and chemicals are pumped underground to break apart the shale rock to release gas. But there is more to it than you think.


When gas companies frack, they drill down thousands of feet into the earth until they get to the shale rock. The well is drilled 5,000 to 9,000 feet vertically, then reaching the marcellus shale, they drill 10,000 horizontally. Fracking fluid is then pushed under high pressure which causes the shale layers to crack, releasing the natural gas. The gases come out from drilled well and are then collected and sent out.


Although the wells are being drilled thousands of feet underground, people who have drill sites on their land have contaminated well water which is affecting their health. A lot of the same chemicals found in fracking fluid, are found in the tested contaminated water.


Pipes that are carrying these fluids will sometimes crack and leak, causing the chemicals to reach the underground water bed. The gas companies think otherwise.   Landowners have no other reason but to believe that the contamination is being caused by the fracking. Up until the drilling started, their water was fine.


“Gas companies are creating a sludge type material that is leaking into the groundwater, and then the people whose lands have fracking no longer have safe drinking water,” says 7th grade science teacher, Mrs. Park. Well water that comes from lands that contain drill sites will have an oily substance on the surface, which ignites when a fire is brought near it.


“Last year in my science class, we did a mock trial about Hydraulic Fracturing and I got to learn more about the dangers of fracking,” says 8th grader Abbass Karnib from Unis Middle School. Tests taken of water samples show that high levels of benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and diesel were found in the well water. “We need natural gas to help us with things on a daily basis, but what they use to get it out is ruining more than helping,” stated Abbass.

On the other end of the spectrum, not everyone finds Hydraulic Fracturing to be a problem. Hussein Zaarour, 8th grader at Unis Middle School does not find fracking harmful. “There is no valid evidence that the water contamination is caused by Hydraulic Fracturing.” Zaarour states. Since gas companies are drilling thousands of feet underground, the fracking fluid is not being released anywhere near the water bed.


“It was probably something that was already in the water causing it to become contaminated,” says Hussein. Water gets dirty when old pipes that have oxidized becoming rusty. This is another theory many have come up with.


Hydraulic Fracturing has been around for the last decade, and has had a positive and negative impact on our environment. What is really contaminating everyone’s water is the burning question that has yet to be answered.

Jana Ghoul

Unis Middle School Journalist

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