Streamline - Spring 2012 - (Page 21)

FRACKING Rapidly BY JIMMY NORMAN TRAINING COORDINATOR Becoming Unpopular uranium mining and the upcoming vote to lift the ban in Virginia was the topic in the state legislature. The pros and cons of the subject were defined. Now the moment is at hand. The General Assembly will soon be taking a vote on whether or not to lift the ban. IN AUGUST 2011, Much has been done on our energy needs and possible future fuel alternatives. Shouldn’t we do as much or more on our water supply? Many state representatives reserved their comments and positions on uranium mining until the National Academy of Science had completed its report. The report was to be a great contribution to officials making a sound and well-informed decision prior to voting. The report came out in December and was anything but conclusive. It appears that there is no conclusive evidence. While all the issues for those on each side have been covered in great detail, one can’t help but come away with the perspective that there is too much risk involved. The risk is to ground water contamination and surface water contamination. While the information supplied by those for lifting the ban has been solid as far as groundwater concerns go, the surface water issue has not. A solution to storing the drillings (contaminated residual from drilling the well) is not safe. This is due as indicated in the aforementioned article weather and surface run-off. Not only is this one of the concerns mentioned in the Science Academy report, but there now comes reports from other parts of the country that one of the methods being used to treat contaminated spoils from “fracking” may be the cause of earthquakes in Ohio. While earthquakes caused by this practice aren’t new 1. The word earthquake has a special ability to grab public attention 1. This particular event in Ohio comes from the practice of treating wastewater from gas drilling and injecting it back into the earth. On Dec. 31, 2011, a magnitude 4.0 earthquake occurred near Youngstown, Ohio. Gov. John Kasich took the action of shutting down the wastewater well on which the quake has been blamed 1. What is Fracking? Fracking involves blasting millions of gallons of water laced with chemicals and sand deep into the ground to unlock vast reserves of natural gas, or in this case uranium, which is a boon for energy companies. The process leaves behind toxic wastewater that is expensive to treat. In the case of mining uranium, storing the waste is a major issue. None of the alternatives for storage prevent leaching. This is a problem that opponents insist must be resolved. Surface run-off could cause major contamination downstream. The practice of dumping underground has been controversial, with scant research done on potential environmental dangers, highlighted by reports of contamination of aquifers in some communities in Pennsylvania and Wyoming 1. Political leaders are weighing economic and environmental concerns. That there is a beneficial economic effect is without a doubt. The same cannot be said of the potential environmental hazards. The practice is not only a great risk (known and not known) to water supplies, but has also proved to emit more greenhouse gases than other energy sources such as c.oal 2. Much has been done on our energy needs and possible future fuel alternatives. Shouldn’t we do as much or more on our water supply? This is definitely an issue that demands patience and absolute certainty. The ban in Virginia has been in place for many years and many more may be necessary to get to that point. 1 2 Roanoke Times-Associated Press Article (Jan.4,2012) Hal Harvey-Climateworks Foundation-Los Angeles Times 21

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Streamline - Spring 2012

From the President
From the Executive Director
Where is Virginia’s Groundwater?
Basic Management Skills
Planning or Piecemeal?
CPEs and YOU
The Sludge Bag
Fracking Rapidly Becoming Unpopular
Amazing We All Learned English!
Springtime Safety – Outdoor Hazards
Spotlight on Western Virginia Water Authority’s Blue Ridge Brawler
Wastewater Math
VRWA’S 24th Annual Exposition Agenda
Throwing My Loop
eLearning Benefits
Membership Application
Do You Know What Your VRWA Benefi ts Are?
Rural Water Review
VRWA Mailbag
Welcoming New Members
Training Calendar
Board Of Directors
VRWA Committees
Index To Advertisers/Ad.Com

Streamline - Spring 2012