Hydraulic fracturing, more commonly known as Fracking, has become a major issue in current years. Water table and air pollution are the most prevalent concerns as the 21st century dawns. Countries around the world have to balance out the economic and environmental benefits of burning natural gas as a fuel source rather than oil and coal with the dangers of polluting the world’s water ways and the air that we breathe. Millions of dollars have already been poured into the research and development of burning natural gas, and millions if not billions more are sure to be pushed into this blooming industry should it prove profitable.
The process of Fracking starts with making a hole in the ground approximately 20 inches in diameter. This is
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It then drills an arch down into the shale where the process of pouring concrete into the well is repeated and the arch is coated in concrete. The whole well is then tested for strength and the original rig is dismantled and moved to a new site. This first stage of site preparation takes between ten and fourteen days. A rig known as a “workover rig” is now brought in to continue drilling farther into the shale. The next set of steps is what actually mines the gas from the shale. A “perf gun” is lowered into the well and is used to bust holes into the side of the protective concrete so that the gas may be extracted. After this, about one million gallons of water treated with chemicals and “proppants” (usually bits of sand) is pushed into the well. The rig operators start at the end of the arch and drill back to the end of the vertical shaft, using the mixture of sand and chemicals to widen the holes made by the perf gun so that the gas may flow into the well from the shale. These wider fishers are then plugged back up to help the mixture focus on other parts of the well as they drill back to the end of the vertical shaft. A system of valves and blow-out protectors, known as the “Christmas Tree” by workers, is installed to start pumping gas up to the surface.
As one can see, there are many chances for harmful chemicals to enter the ground through the protecting cast around