Posted by: Philip Carr-Gomm | August 7, 2013

CUADRILLA COULD POISON RESERVOIR?

Ardingly Reservoir, near Balcombe, Sussex

Ardingly Reservoir, near Balcombe, Sussex

Just planning to visit the Balcombe fracking protest site. Had a look on the map to see where it is. Saw to my amazement that it’s near Ardingly Reservoir that supplies thousands of homes with drinking water.
Cuadrilla has put in a planning application for permission to remove radioactive waste water from the site. When they pump water down into the rocks it can loosen naturally occurring radioactive matter and when the water is pumped out hey presto it is low- level radioactive waste, and they need permission to dispose of it safely.
We have until 13 August to object to this application. You can do this online at PSCpublicresponse@environment-agency.gov.uk   (Details here: https://consult.environment-agency.gov.uk/portal/)
But why object? I’m sure they’ve thought of the possibility they could contaminate the reservoir. I’m sure their experts know what they’re doing. But then I’m sure the people who built Fukoshima thought they knew what they were doing.

1094474_10151582610341365_1324370384_oThis film demonstrates powerfully and with expert testimony the risks in both the US and the UK:


Responses

  1. I am engaged in water science here in the Marcellus Shale region in western Pennsylvania. I specialize in solutions around the handling and recovery (not disposal) of production frack water. I have been following the UK progress with natural interest. A lot of disinformation and assumptions. Would be happy to answer questions from an area of the world where this is really happening.

  2. Where does it end? When everything is dead !! It does not matter how many safety checks, safe disposal treatments the environment will be polluted which cannot be reversed . Fracking will take Away the lives of tomorrow’s children , and all the lives of those without a voice, The natural world. Oh boy the human race is so intelligent.

    • First of all I am pro-fracking but with an environmental mission. The produced water is the 800 pound gorilla but it can be tamed. The problem is that their are workable solutions but more often than not (and for reasons I cannot explain) Operators prefer to be non-transparent then there is really no reason to do so. My company produces a produced water remediation system that is closed loop. We process on site and recover 3 waste streams safely – heavy metals which may or may not include NORM(s) which typically are in extremely low volumes. Concentrate the filtrate and about every month hand off to a recovery processing company which separates out the metals for re-use. The clean brine is then cracked into pure, dry salt which can be repurposed, and the effluent (water) is of distilled grade quality (can be re-used in operations or shipped off for industrial purposes. Also our process uses concentrated solar power in order to provide up to 60% of the energy required for the distillation/crystallization process – it is this pragmatic use of alternatives that allows us to be the low cost option in the Marcellus. We also eliminate truck traffic (for picking up water) with its cost, risk, & pollution. Sorry to do an ad but we are very passionate about the subject. If you go to one of these town halls some questions to ask are as follows:

      1. what is your plan to deal with both “flowback” water (at beginning of the frack) and most importantly “produced” water – this is the water that emerges over the lifetime of the well – which could be between 10-20 years. This water increases in TDS over time and in our opinion must be treated at the point of origin. Also any responsible operator should have a 100% recycle/reuse policy – water (usually flowback) should be used in the fracking of other wells and ultimately process on site back to pure water. This is all doable and affordable – we are taking 200,000+ TDS water (4 times the salinity of seawater) and producing water of 5-10 TDS (cleaner than what went down the well)

      2. what is the plan for minimizing heavy truck traffic? As an American who has spent 50% of his life living and working in the UK I know the areas (especially North) where drilling is taking place. In a meeting I had last year with one of your former Energy Ministers, I pointed out that these areas have nowhere near the roads infrastructure that the US does and even with that the Truck issue is a major problem in the US. #2 it does not take a genius to figure out that by using trucks to move all of this contaminated water you are not only going to have spills but buy calculating the prospective carbon produce, you reduce the validity of the argument that natural gas is the low carbon alternative.

      3. to the government: what fastrack programs are you implementing to convert business lorry fleets to natural gas? and for the operators – will you commit to using your own product to power your operation + a large measure of alternative energy solutions.

      I hope this was helpful.

      • Thanks for the info, I will study in detail but when it comes to money and profit, enviromental concerns are left in the shadow. The priority is to protect the environment first , source and harness energy second. The 70s film Silent running is going to be fact , not science fiction.

      • Well that is the paradox. My thesis is that environmentalism does not become a concern until there is reasonable middle class wealth – at which point the populace becomes concerned with not having to find the next meal but making sure that the environment around them is protected – as much for the safety of their community as for the value of their property. An extreme version of this point is the old Iron Curtain countries – politics mattered not the environment. This middle class thinking is beginning in China & India and I would put both at about 1960’s America. In fact the way to make things like the environment and alternatives important is to make them profitable. That is our bizplan – and it works – we are beating forecasts for our systems because our customers – gas, oil & coal producers get a system that is anywhere from 20 – 60% cheaper than what they are doing now and its more effective (environmentally). I think the discussion needs to be reframed by the community in a less (apologies) hysterical way. Your reference to Silent Running (which I am unfortunately old enough to know) comes from a time that was dominated by the thinking of folks like Paul Erlich who have been pretty much wrong at every turn – re: the Erlich – Simon wager which Erlich lost totally.

        The shale gas phenom is truly a 100 year event. it is a global quantum game changer. It will not be stopped, but I believe that the industry must be engaged with intelligently . My problem with many demos both here and abroad is that there is an almost total lack of either scientific or engineering reasoning.

        There are plenty of industrial processes and each one generates water which must be dealt with. This is one more. here is the US there is hand wringing by the usual suspects about fracking but not a peep about the complete and total compromise of our fresh water by the additive put into oxygenated petrol – MTBE. Like dioxins it is a accumulated poison which is stored in the fat cells of the organisms that consume. EPA admits it, and basically shrugs its shoulders. Not a peep from the activist community.

        Lets make a deal – if you want – I will give you questions for the next town hall. I guarantee that many of them will stop (or start a new) conversation. Both the industry and the government in the UK is feeling around for the correct policies/protocols.

        They frankly need to spend time here in PA where a very sophisticated set of regs has created and is being enforced.

      • Ron,
        What is the name of the company you work for?

      • Davie:

        In the name of transparency I work for a Pittsburgh based company called Epiphany Solar Water Systems. We produce 2 types of systems both based upon our core desalination technology. Portable off-grid drinking water systems that use Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) to desalinate and purify drinking water. My end is a similar system that has been re-confirgured to remediate production frack water. 2 stage system which uses biofilter technology to remove heavy metals, chemicals, etc, leaving a clean brine which then goes through our vapor compression/crystallizer where we yield pure salt and an effluent of distilled water. Goal was to create a closed loop on pad system in order to eliminate trucks and the need to dispose of the production water in underground wells. As long as you can cleanly separate waste streams you can find re-use/re-cycle applications. Depending upon location the process is powered by solar power (here in PA) for 60% of its energy needs. Other locations would use more solar. Hope that answers some of your questions. Please send more.

        Ron


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