Fracking Fluid Spill Prompts Evacuation Of Nearby Homes

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A broken drill at a natural gas drilling site resulted in a leak of thousands of gallons of fracking fluid and prompted the evacuation of nearby homes as concern grew over the possibility of a natural gas explosion. At one point, fracking fluid was flowing from the drill site at a volume of 800 gallons per minute.

The natural gas drilling site in Pennsylvania is run by Carrizo Gas Company. The company reported that the natural gas supply was capped off shortly after the spill began and that most fracking fluid was captured in basins near the site. The company is providing bottled water to nearby residents while tests continue to be run to determine the extent of any contamination caused by the spill.

The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has run both air and water tests for contamination, checking for elevated radiation levels in the water supply and levels of methane in the air.

Fracking fluid is a mixture of water, sand and several different chemicals. Many insist that it is harmless; the Governor of Colorado famously took a sip of fracking fluid with an executive from Haliburton in 2011. But the Governor has since admitted that the fluid he swigged, CleanStim, is not the fracking fluid typically used in natural gas sites across the country.

The true danger of fracking fluid remains a mystery. While companies who engage in hydraulic fracking are required to disclose the chemicals used in their fracking fluid, they do not have to disclose proprietary ingredients. These ingredients are considered trade secrets and not subject to disclosure. Whether or not fracking fluid is truly dangerous may depend on precisely on the identity of these mystery ingredients.

Source: WNEP, "UPDATE: Fracking Fluid Leak In Wyoming County," March 15, 2013

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