EARTHWORKS

Where do you think the fracking sand comes from?

Sharon Wilson's avatar
By Sharon Wilson

May 23, 2011

Just when you thought you had learned all the dirty secrets of the shale drilling debacle, here comes something new. It took a while, but you finally figured out that the landman s depiction of two tanks sitting in a green field with flowers all around was far from accurate. You learned about the multiple tanks, diesel fumes, noise, bright lights, constant truck traffic, noxious odors, massive pipelines, injection wells, landfarms, waste pits, frack pits, compressor stations, tank farms, water depletion, water contamination, spills, processing plants, nose bleeds, royalty checks that never came, rashes, illegal dumping and etc. But there s more and if you live in North Texas, you should pay close attention.

The sand used for hydraulic fracturing has to be mined and that can be quite a destructive process. Sometimes, as is the case in the Ozarks, it requires mountain top removal. Other times they have to dredge the rivers, or they just dig the sand.

Here are some of the environmental concerns from frack sand mining. Thanks to Friends of the Rivers.

  • Water depletion of the aquifer
  • Water discharge of waste water into creeks
  • Risks to fish and wildlife habitat
  • Possible additional erosion of streambanks from non-normal wastewater discharges and higher stormwater runoffs from cleared lands into creeks
  • Air - dangers of silica dust causing silicosis
  • Truck traffic
  • Tourism and Economic Impacts
  • Risks to workers
  • Reclamation/Restoration after mining
  • Noise and light
  • Property Values

Frack sand mining is happening in several areas of the nation. Here is a recent article from Wisconsin: Viewpoint: Sand extraction raises environmental concerns

Last week I was contacted by a Cooke County resident who lives near the Red River. EOG (formerly Enron) plans to start mining for frack sand right on the edge of a creek about a mile above the point where the creek empties into the Red River. EOC has named it the Cooke County Sand Pit and it s permitted by the TCEQ under permit 95412.

Cooke County residents are trying to flood TCEQ with requests for a public meeting and contested hearing, as well as a re-publication of the public notice. In typical industry manner, EOC posted the notice in a rather obscure newspaper.

Local residents main concern is that the high volume of water used in frack sand mining and processing will deplete nearby residential and agricultural water wells. Of course it will also pollute the creek and river and fill the air with hazardous silica dust.

Cooke County had a decent turnout (about 50 people) for one meeting. They have another one planned. If you live in Cooke County, or downwind from Cooke County, or downstream from Cooke County, this is your wakeup call. Contact Wylie at trinity.red@gmail.com to learn how to help.

P.S. Wouldn t it be interesting to know the total of all the frack water plus all the frack sand mining water? Then maybe we could figure out how much per MCf this so-called clean energy costs us in water.

Tagged with: mining, fracking, frac sand mining, frac sand

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