Fracking, Groundwater, and Sustainability

I’m not a fan of fracking. If it is done properly, the risks to the environment can be greatly minimized, but still, I believe this process is too risky, and I would prefer that we didn’t obtain sources of fuel this way.

Briefly, I am generally against anything that puts foreign substances into my body, my planet, my water and my food. Add to this, we really don’t need the fuel that fracking is yielding. The process is purely a financial/economical issue, and not one that significantly impacts our needs for fuel.

With that said, I am going to throw a bit of a twist into your day because when it comes to protecting the nation’s groundwater, I think we humans are just as irresponsible as some of the more careless Fracking companies. While we espouse the dangers of fracking, it seems that we overlook the risks to our groundwater that our very own well-drilling activities are presenting. Remember, regardless of what man drills into the earth in search of, we are still drilling into the planet’s crust and we are disturbing the natural order of things.

Congress is in motion to pass H.R. 3533, the  – Water Systems Cost Savings Act – which aims to provide federal funds for those who want to remove themselves from using municipal water supplies in favor of drilling their own, private wells. Here in Memphis, TN, as well as in other cities with ample groundwater supplies, many industries avoid paying local water bills by tapping their own wells.

Do you see where I am going with this? Can you see the connection between irresponsible fracking and our well-drilling behavior? If not, let me illuminate my thoughts.

I like municipal water suppliers. In general they have chemists, engineers and trained operators. In general, their water activities are highly regulated and monitored. Conversely, homeowners, businesses and industries generally don’t have many regulations placed upon them with regards to drilling their own wells.

Ponder with me now just for a moment about the potential pollution, contamination and even terrorism susceptibility individual wells present to the nation’s groundwater. We must remember that when we drill a well, we are pulling water from a large underground source that is shared by a multitude of people. If just one well owner contaminated his well, it could literally ruin the entire aquifer.

If groundwater sustainability is something we really care about, then we need to develop a process that doesn’t just police the big, scary things like fracking, but also, places much higher standards, analytics and even regulatory licensing on anyone, individual or corporation who wants to drill their own well.

Tommy V
Tommy V
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