Components of Hydraulic Fracturing Fluid

Frac fluid containers - Image from:


This page has been archived. It is provided for historical reference only.

On June 30th, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection made public the fluids used to hydraulically fracture the ground in PA. You can find that list on the DEP’s site here. However, some controversy ensued due to a mix up between the DEP & the material safety data sheets. Diesel fuel, which is listed in the linked document above for example, is only stored on site for other purposes – not injected into the ground.

“The original list was a compilation of the chemicals identified on safety documents called material safety data sheets that hydraulic fracturing contractors must submit to the department, but he [Scott Perry, the director of DEP’s Bureau of Oil and Gas Management] did not realize that it included substances the contractors use both above and below ground on a well site, he said. The second list was winnowed by a DEP chemist, who recognized that some of the chemicals on the initial list are not among those injected underground during the fracturing process.” …

CHEC’s director, Conrad Dan Volz, DrPH, MPH, said he understands that the department is trying to respond to an “absolute clamor out there to get this information,” but he said the list posted Wednesday is more an attempt to “mollify people’s complaints that they are not releasing information” than to provide data that citizens can use if they want to test their drinking water before & after drilling. “What to me is valuable is to get information on not only what goes down but also what comes up” from the wells in the form of salt & metals-laden waste fluids, he said. (The Times-Tribune)

The map below shows all of the public & private water wells in PA in blue & the Marcellus Shale wells drilled to date in black (as well as vividly demonstrates why we need to be vigilant of the potential impact that this industry can have on our quality of life). [image removed] 
In response to growing frustration over the lack of industry disclosure of these chemicals, Range and Chief plan to disclose the chemicals it uses to hydraulically fracture methane gas wells in the Marcellus Shale region.

September 9, 2010 Update: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that it has issued voluntary information requests to nine natural gas service companies regarding the process known as hydraulic fracturing. Read more.
4 replies
  1. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    >If you leaf through your local municipal water treatment plant, you will certainly discover chemicals labeled "proprietary" or containing "trade secret" components.

    The majority of frac chemicals in use today are commonly used water treatment chemicals. Once you understand simple water treatment principles, you can easily understand what they are, why they are used, and what the impact is.

    Please don't simply watch a one and a half hour special "on demand" and snap to judgement.

  2. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    >First I would like to thank you for your efforts with this web site; the public needs all the help it can get concerning this Marcellus gas well extraction industry. I encourage you all to find a Marcellus well site in your area and go visit it, have a good look. While you are looking at the operation keep in mind these facts:

    1) The intentions of the gas extraction industries in Pennsylvania – (According to the information from Penn State) is to drill 30,000 deep Marcellus gas wells through out the central part of Pennsylvania in the next ten years, and more later.

    2) The gas extraction industry has already drilled 100,000 wells in the mid west, Texas, Colorado, New Mexico, and Wyoming. They have another projected 100,000 wells to be drilled through out the mid west in the next ten years.

    3) It is said by the gas industries that Pennsylvania has ten times more available gas supply than the mid west area. “Pennsylvania is the Saudi Arabia of America”.

    4) The gas extraction industry, its process and chemicals, is the only industry that has been exempted from the “Clean Water Act”, The Safe Drinking Water Act”, The Clean Air Act”, and many others. They are left to self regulate and self report themselves.

    5) The chemicals that are added to the “fracking” solution by the gas extraction industry
    Is “proprietary”, that is, they are not required to disclose their “Triad Secrets”. No disclosures.

    6) The DEP (Department of Environmental Protection) of Pennsylvania is going through some of its biggest budget cuts it has ever seen. In the last ten years it has seen budget cuts of almost 60%. Can the DEP do its job in light of these numbers?

    Is this not a prescription for a “Perfect Storm” to an environmental disaster that would make the Gulf of Mexico’s Deepwater Horizon disaster look small?

  3. Conrad Volz
    Conrad Volz says:

    >The municipal and private well water data is interesting–for CHEC researchers please check the metadata for this dataset as there are far more private water wells in PA than what are shown. This dataset and the oil and gas dataset could be used together to discover the depths of all wells drilled in PA–This could be important because there is a possibility of a hydrofractured Marcellus well being in communication through manufactured faults–larger faults that are already formed etc with other geologic layers. Getting a sense of the depths of other oil and gas wells and drinking water wells is thus important as they may start to tell some story about the potential for human exposure to contaminated water pressurized in the Marcellus.

  4. FrackedSister
    FrackedSister says:

    >Since drilling mud absolutely comes into contact with aquifers before any casings are added or cemented, disclosure of the chemicals used there are just as important.

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