Chemicals

Fracking companies are fond of telling the public that the chemicals used in fracking make up just a small fraction of the fracking fluid. While this may be true it still means huge volumes of chemicals are used in each frack. Up to 300 tonnes of chemicals are injected into a well each time it is fracked. The chemicals include known carcinogens, neurotoxins, reproductive toxins and endocrine disruptors. In WA fracking companies are required to tell the public which chemicals they will be using in each frack. This allows some transparency. Close to 200 chemicals are used in the fracking...

Divided Communities

Fracking can cause communities to divide with those who will reap some economic benefit pitted against those concerned for the long term viability of their existing businesses, their health, their vital water resources and their environment. In Queensland this division has seen locals who have been lifelong friends fighting one another over the rights and wrongs of unconventional gas development. The sudden arrival of gas miners seeking access to land has caused stress in many communities. Bullying by gas companies to gain access to prime agricultural land resulted in the suicide of at least...

Gas Leaks

In Queensland test bores sunk and abandoned more than 30 years ago have been found leaking methane into the atmosphere and are likely to have been doing so for decades. These fugitive emissions are not counted in the nation’s carbon budget. Methane is up to 84 times more potent a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide over a 20 year period. Other research suggests that many unconventional gas wells leak. Some leak as soon as they are sunk, others corrode over time and later start to leak. People living near gas vents and wells in Queensland have suffered a range of unexplained illnesses i...

Polluted ground water

One of the major concerns around fracking is the potential for the process to contaminate groundwater. Contamination can happen at many stages in the process and while best practice can reduce the risk of well failure, accidental spillage or negligence, it cannot eliminate the risk. Wells have failed and contamination has occurred in the United States rendering some drinking water sources unusable. The cement casings used to line the bore holes that carry gas and contaminated water in and out of the well can corrode or fail resulting in the migration of contaminated waste water and or methane...

Volume of water used

The fracking process uses vast amounts of water. Each time a well is fracked it uses around 8 million litres of water, the equivalent of the daily water use of 65,000 people. The amount of water will vary depending on the geology but in general the water used per frack has increased over the past few years. Wells are fracked multiple times and gasfields contain multiple wells so the amount of water used in the process quickly adds up. In drier areas like the WA Mid West this water use is of particular concern. What to do with the water once it has been used to frack a well is another problem....