Monday, April 4, 2011

How Much Water?

Kayaking at Wysox, PA
Photo: Don Williams
The gas drilling industry is crafty at presenting facts to the public.  For instance, it tries to downplay how many chemicals and how much is put into the ground during drilling and fracking.  You'd think it was nothing to worry about- just stuff you find underneath your sink!  This article by Wes Skillings of the Rocket-Courier writes about the calculations of Dan Barrett, Bradford County District Attorney, who likes to play around with numbers in his spare time.  He set out to help readers visualize how much water two million gallons is.  He concludes that
two million gallons would fill a one-acre pond to the depth of six feet, two inches.
How many tanker trucks would be required to haul two million gallons of water?  Barrett estimates it would take 400 loads, each carrying 5,000 gallons (20 tons).  Here's another visual:  A million gallons would fill a football field surrounded by a wall 3.71 feet high and filled to the top with water.

Wikipedia says it takes 660,000 gallons of water to fill an Olympic-size swimming pool.  You could fill that pool more than three times every day with a reservoir of two million gallons, Barrett calculates.

Now think of how many gas companies are all lined up day after day, night after night, sucking water from our rivers, streams, and lakes.  In Bradford County, PA, there are many water withdrawal sites in operation.  Companies apply to the Susquehanna River Basin Commission and get permission to steal withdraw millions upon millions of gallons of perfectly good water every day.  After the gas industry gets a hold of this precious resource, it soon becomes toxic waste and must be disposed of, never to be returned to the Earth again, except as unusable, poison waste.

Do we want to take all this water, a finite resource,  and throw it away by the millions of gallons every single day in thousands of places?  The scale, the enormity, of this situation is mind-boggling.  So those who would minimize the impact of consumptive water use are not thinking about the big picture.  I think it is the seduction of the Almight Dollar at work.

Here is the Rocket-Courier article:  LINK

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