April 4, 2023
Source: Inside Climate News
Extracting fossil fuels from underground reservoirs requires so much water a Chevron scientist once referred to its operations in California’s Kern River Oilfield “as a water company that skims oil.”
Fracking operations use roughly 1.5 million to 16 million gallons per well to release oil and gas from shale, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. All that water returns to the surface as wastewater called flowback and produced water, or FPW, contaminated by a complex jumble of hazardous substances in fluids injected to enhance production, salts, metals and other harmful elements once sequestered deep underground, along with their toxic breakdown products.
Concerns that spills could damage sensitive ecosystems skyrocketed with the rapid expansion of fracking across the United States and Canada almost two decades ago, as technological advances allowed energy companies to exploit previously inaccessible shale oil and gas reserves.