What can be done to address health concerns? What have others done?

Industry Representatives

Water Quality

Approaches the operator may undertake to address water quality concerns include:

  • using tanks to store wastewater instead of open pits, following best practices for their design, construction, and operation to prevent leaks and spills 1
  • following best practices for well-casing construction, following best practices and industry guidelines 2
  • adopting the use of green fracturing fluids (strategies include drawing on the chemicals listed in EPA’s Design for the Environment program and establishing a staff position responsible for reducing the volume and toxicity of chemicals used)
  • implementing storm water plans to control runoff and flooding
  • publicly disclosing the contents of hydraulic fracturing fluids, possibly using a “systems approach” to reporting that separates trade names from chemical ingredients and concentrations, allowing operators to preserve confidential information while sharing the chemicals used 3
  • as mentioned in the safety section, providing driver training programs and establishing safety controls such as speed monitors and road risk maps to avoid accidents and spills (see Box 9. Case Study: Driver Safety)
  • establishing a community-based participatory monitoring program, in which trained and experienced volunteers conduct water sampling in the surrounding area to monitor for chemical constituents that could pose a health risk (see Box 4. Case Study from the Mining Industry:  The Good Neighbor Agreement)

Notes:

  1.  GWPC, “State Oil and Gas Regulations,” 11
  2.  API, “Hydraulic Fracturing Operations – Well Construction and Integrity Guidelines,” API Guidance Document HF1, First Edition (October 2009)
  3. U.S. Department of Energy, “Secretary of Energy Advisory Board Task Force Report on FracFocus 2.0” (Washington, DC:  March 28, 2014), 2.