The most damaging impact of hydraulic fracturing is that the process will permanently remove hundreds of millions of gallons of fresh water from the water cycle. In addition to this fact, there are many more health, economic, and environmental impacts resulting from damage to the land, air, and water. Below are some of the most concerning environmental impacts resulting from hydraulic fracturing.
Extreme Water Withdrawals From Local Water Systems
A definite consequence of hydraulic fracturing is the immense and dangerous impact of water withdrawals from the local watersheds. A single well pad typically uses a minimum of 2 million gallons of fresh water, but a single well pad can also use hundreds of millions of gallons of fresh water. As previously mentioned, this water can never return to the water cycle, which means that the local water withdrawals will never be replaced to the local watershed.
In Kalkaska County Michigan, Encana Corporation used a record of 21 million gallons of fresh water for a single frack extraction[source]. This water can never return to the water cycle due to the added toxic chemical mixture and potential contact with radioactive materials. We are concerned about the impact this will have on our local water systems. Millions of gallons of fresh water are inherent to the hydraulic fracturing process, and the effects associated with the extraction, transportation, and storage will need to be addressed by both the state as well as the local communities in which it impacts.
Onset of Unnaturally Occurring Earthquakes
One of the most alarming environmental impacts of hydraulic fracturing is the increased frequency of unnaturally occurring earthquakes across the country [source], which been associated with the hydraulic fracturing process, particularly the disposal of toxic, radioactive waste fluids [source]. The causes for these earthquakes have been attributed to the destabilization of the geological formations that are deliberately altered. In addition to numerous reports in Oklahoma, Arkansas, Texas, and Ohio, there have been thorough studies in highly recognized peer-reviewed journals [source] and by governmental agencies [source] that describe in full detail how these earthquakes can be generated as a direct result to the hydraulic fracturing process.