The advocacy group Environment America calls fracking an “environmental nightmare.” Sometimes methane gas and the toxic chemicals leach out into the groundwater, polluting streams and wells.

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  1. What is fracking?
  2. How does the fracking technique work?
  3. What are the advantages of fracking?
  4. Why do some people oppose the fracking process?
  5. How does fracking hurt the environment?
  6. What dangers does fracking hold for people who live close to the wells?
  7. What kinds of symptoms are felt by those who are exposed to fracking pollution?
  8. Where is fracking being used?
  9. Are there any fracking locations in Pennsylvania?
  10. Have there been any reports of pollution in Pennsylvania?
  11. I think I’m suffering bad effects from living near a toxic water storage site. What should I do?

What is fracking?

“Fracking” is shorthand for “hydraulic fracturing,” a process of acquiring natural gas or oil from underground shale formations.

How does the fracking technique work?

After a hole has been drilled, a perforated steel casing is inserted in the well bore. A mixture of water, sand and chemicals is injected under high pressure, and it blasts out of the casing, fracturing the rock and releasing trapped oil or gas, allowing it to flow out of the well.

What are the advantages of fracking?

Some rock formations, like shale, are so dense that unless they are fractured, the oil and gas they contain cannot be economically extracted. Hydraulic fracturing can also be used to stimulate wells that are no longer producing at high capacity. Oil and gas companies say fracking is a method of tapping into our country’s abundant natural resources, substantially increasing production of the fuel we need and benefiting local economies.

Why do some people oppose the fracking process?

The millions of gallons of chemical-laden water used in fracturing the shale underground eventually return to the surface. This is known as “flowback” or “produced water.” It is typically stored at the drill site in tanks or pits before it is treated and disposed of. In addition to the injected chemicals, the water can contain metals, brine and radionuclides. These are hazardous to the environment and to health.

How does fracking hurt the environment?

The advocacy group Environment America calls fracking an “environmental nightmare.” Sometimes methane gas and the toxic chemicals leach out into the groundwater, polluting streams and wells. There have been instances where the liner of the wastewater pit developed a tear, allowing spillage. These pits and tanks also release volatile organic compounds into the air. Some producers have contaminated rivers by dumping waste into them.

What dangers does fracking hold for people who live close to the wells?

Many of the chemicals used in fracking are known to be carcinogens (cancer causing) or are regulated by the federal government because they pose a risk to human health. People who live near a produced water storage pit are exposed to the elements contained in the smog which rises from it. Those who get their drinking water from a well may be sickened by the toxic chemicals seeping into it. Even bathing in this water can be harmful.

What kinds of symptoms are felt by those who are exposed to fracking pollution?

Exposure to fracking chemicals has been blamed for a wide variety of ailments –asthma and other respiratory problems; blistering and skin rashes; cancers; nausea; tremors; headaches; and vision loss, among others.

Where is fracking being used?

Fracking is occurring all across the country – from California to New York, from North Dakota to Texas. There are about 82,000 such wells in the U.S.

Are there any fracking locations in Pennsylvania?

You bet! The Marcellus Shale formation is the largest source of natural gas in the United States, and it’s right under Pennsylvania. There are more than 4,000 Marcellus wells in Pennsylvania, and experts estimate there will be more than 100,000 within a few decades.

Have there been any reports of pollution in Pennsylvania?

The Associated Press requested and analyzed data from several of the states where fracking operations are underway. Pennsylvania confirmed at least 106 water-well contamination cases since 2005. In addition, Duke University researchers found dangerous levels of radioactive materials in Blacklick Creek and the Allegheny River caused by fracking wastewater treatment.

I think I’m suffering bad effects from living near a toxic water storage site. What should I do?

First, of course, you should see your doctor so that your symptoms can be properly diagnosed and documented and you can receive treatment. Medical care for serious and debilitating illnesses linked to fracking can be extremely expensive. Some families have found it necessary to move away from a contaminated area, forfeiting the equity in their homes and land. A toxic tort lawsuit against the companies responsible for poisoning the air you breathe or the water you use can provide funds to help you and your family respond to these catastrophic circumstances.

Pogust Millrood is a Philadelphia-area law firm which handles personal injury cases, including those arising from fracking in the Marcellus Shale region of Pennsylvania. If fracking has harmed you or a family member, use our online contact form or call us at 1-888-348-6787 for a free consultation about how we can help you find justice.