LETTER: Fracking is a threat to our drinking water

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Fracking is not a “political football”, opposition to it is based on an understanding that fracking poses a serious risk to health, the environment and our long term economic well-being as opposed to a short-term unsustainable fix. 
There is opposition to fracking across a range of parties – Greens, Labour, Liberal Democrats and even some Tories in affected areas. It is a cross party concern. It is banned or subject to moratoriums in a number of countries and increasingly the companies trying to develop it in the UK are coming up against financial difficulties and lack of investor confidence.

To answer the point about water tables and drilling for shale gas, the depths vary from area to area, but what we do know is that there are various factors to take into consideration when thinking about possible water contamination, either by methane from the fracking or wastewater/’flowback’ water.

According to a report by Marianne Stewart, head of groundwater protection at the British Geological Survey:“Pathways for contaminants to groundwater could potentially include subsurface permeability created by the fracking process allowing ingress of gas or fracking fluid. Accidental releases during preparation of fracking fluids or from fluid leaks, blowouts and casing failures. Storage, disposal, treatment or reuse of large volumes of flowback water.”

The report mentions one of the numerous studies done in the USA:

Documented instances of groundwater contamination from the USA are predominantly related to the leakage of methane into groundwater. Osbourn et al. (2011) showed systematic evidence for methane contamination of drinking water allegedly associated with shale gas extraction, where the average vertical separation between drinking water boreholes and the shale was between 900 and 1800 m.

Possible water contamination is just one of many reasons to oppose fracking.

It is particularly important to oppose fracking in Nottinghamshire as we are historically vulnerable due to geological faulting, old mineworkings and the sourcing of drinking water for millions of people from underground aquifers rather than reservoirs.

Fracking uses massive amounts of water, leaving it polluted.

People also oppose fracking because of the effect on climate change of fugitive methane, the effect on the landscape and other industries like agriculture and tourism, and because even if it brings money and jobs these are going to be short term and unsustainable in comparison to conventional mining, let alone renewable energy.

Paul Frost

Winchester Close, Mansfield