90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
PLEDGE NOW
Fracking 101

Hydraulic fracturing appears to be as controversial as it is confusing.

Since we’ll be talking about the process in some detail during the show, we’ve put together a brief cheat-sheet for listeners to learn more about this technology.

Here’s the Environmental Protection Agency’s run-down on hydraulic fracturing and how it is used to extract a variety of resources including, gas, oil, geothermal energy, and water.

“The process of hydraulic fracturing begins with building the necessary site infrastructure including well construction. Production wells may be drilled in the vertical direction only or paired with horizontal or directional sections. Vertical well sections may be drilled hundreds to thousands of feet below the land surface and lateral sections may extend 1000 to 6000 feet away from the well.”

Here’s a gas industry video, Chesapeake Energy in this case, with an animation showing how the process works.

In 2004, the EPA conducted a study on the impacts of fracking on drinking water. You can read the study here.

It concluded, in part:

“Although potentially hazardous chemicals may be introduced into USDWs [underground source of drinking water] when fracturing fluids are injected into coal seams that lie within USDWs, the risk posed to USDWs by introduction of these chemicals is reduced significantly by groundwater production and injected fluid recovery, combined with the mitigating effects of dilution and dispersion, adsorption, and potentially biodegradation.”

For more information about the controversies surrounding natural gas and fracking, check out this 60 Minutes piece that digs deeper into the “ugly stepchild” of American energy debate.

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
  • http://twitter.com/aidgeoscience Dale Kramer

    HIGH MOLAR HCL , METAL CONTAINING BENTONITE, EXPLOSIVES AFFECT THE AQUIFER AND THE COMPANIES ARE VERY VERY GOOD AT HIDING THE AFFECTS OF FRACCING 

    WELLHEAD PROTECTION OF ADJACENT WATER SUPPLES SHOULD BE USED
    kramer works with drillershttp://youtu.be/WzILnFBT3O8

    LICENSED GEOLOGIST ME IN
    CA OR WA WY AND KY

  • BobC

    Watch the Video “Gasland”

ONPOINT
TODAY
Jul 23, 2014
In this Saturday, July 12, 2014, photo, migrants walk along train tracks and boxcars after getting off a train during their journey toward the US-Mexico border, in Ixtepec, southern Mexico. (AP)

Crisis at the US border. What do Latinos on this side of the border have to say? We’ll ask our special roundtable.

Jul 23, 2014
Actor Wallace Shawn attends special screening of "Turks and Caicos" hosted by Vogue and The Cinema Society at the Crosby Street Hotel on Monday, April 7, 2014 in New York.  (AP)

From “The Princess Bride” to “My Dinner with Andre “and “A Master Builder,” actor and writer Wallace Shawn joins us.

RECENT
SHOWS
Jul 22, 2014
Lt. Col. James Howard Williams, aka "Elephant Bill," is the hero of Vicki Constantine Croke's new book, "Elephant Company." (Courtesy Random House)

We’ll travel to the jungles of Burma for the remarkable true story of Billy Williams—aka “the elephant whisperer”—and his World War II heroism.

 
Jul 22, 2014
Smoke rises after an Israeli shelling at the Shijaiyah neighborhood in Gaza City, Monday, July 21, 2014. The top Hamas leader in the Gaza Strip signaled Monday that the Islamic militant group will not agree to an unconditional cease-fire with Israel, while Israel's defense minister pledged to keep fighting "as long as necessary," raising new doubt about the highest-level mediation mission in two weeks. (AP)

The escalated Gaza offensive. We’ll get the views from both sides and the latest developments.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Our Week In The Web: July 11, 2014
Friday, Jul 11, 2014

As we prepare for a week of rebroadcasts, we reflect on Facebook posts, misplaced comments and the magic of @ mentions. Internet, ASSEMBLE!

More »
Comment
 
Two Former Senators, One Fix For US Democracy?
Thursday, Jul 10, 2014

Former US Senators Tom Daschle and Olympia Snowe joined us today with a few fixes for American political inaction.

More »
Comment
 
Future Radio Interns Of America: On Point Wants YOU!
Thursday, Jul 10, 2014

On Point needs interns for the fall. Could YOU be one of them?

More »
2 Comments