The chemistry of fracking water

Published May 27, 2020

In what can’t really be a surprise, chemists at the University of Toledo and the University of Texas found that wastewater from fracking (“produced water”) contains more than 200 chemicals including “carcinogens, solvents and petroleum distillates that can directly contaminate drinking water sources.”

This is news because…

It is also difficult to characterize the chemical composition of produced water because many of the chemicals used by the fracking industry are proprietary, and the geology of natural gas formations varies widely across the US.

West of the 98th meridian (which divides the continental U.S. roughly in half), that water can be discharged into streams and used for agriculture; in the eastern part of the country it’s typically dumped into deep wells where it hopefully can’t contaminate ground water.

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