Pollution risks with fracking
According to the International Journal of Human and Ecological Risk Assessment: Wastewater from fracking contains potentially toxic chemicals used in fracking fluid, as well as natural contaminants from deep underground, including total dissolved solids (e.g., salts, barium, strontium), organic pollutants (e.g., benzene, toluene) and normally occurring radioactive material (NORM) such as Radium 226.
An estimated 30% to 70% of the fluid used in fracking will resurface, requiring treatment. Fracking also releases “produced water” from underground that also rises to the surface, and can be anywhere from two to 200 times as much water, depending on the oil/gas/water concentrations in the shale formation.
A 2004 EPA study concluded fracking did not pose a risk to drinking water, helping lead to its exemption from the Safe Drinking Water Act through the Energy Policy Act of 2005. The study was later criticized as limited and compromised by oil/gas industry influence. A 2009 ProPublica investigation found that contamination was far more prevalent than indicated in the report, citing more than 1,000 cases tied to drilling and fracking that had been documented by courts and state and local governments.