The Norman Transcript

Opinion

May 4, 2014

No More Water for fracking

NORMAN — Editor, The Transcript:

Norman should stop selling water for fracking (hydraulic fracturing).  The use of our water by the fracking industry is contrary to the city’s commitment to water conservation.  We pay for high quality purified water.  We are forced to water lawns on alternate days.  We are urged to collect rain in barrels, invest in systems that separate gray water from sewage, and use no more water than necessary.  We do all that, while the fracking industry consumes an unrevealed massive portion of our water every day.  What happens to that fracking water affects all of us.

A city spokesman has equated selling water for fracking as being the same as selling it to any Norman business or to the Girl Scouts or the University of Oklahoma.  This claim of equivalence is false.  Water used on lawns, in carwashes, for drinking, filling swimming pools, flushing toilets, enabling agriculture, serving responsible industries, or evaporating and falling as rain to sustain wildlife and plants and fill our lakes, is recyclable by man or nature.  The finite totality of the earth’s water is thus preserved.  

By contrast, fracking not only threatens wells, aquifers, and the health of humans and animals, but also consumes vast quantities of potable or gray water.  It laces this with surfactants and toxic chemicals, including carcinogens, and then drives it into gas-bearing strata deep in the earth to shatter the rock and release gas for recovery.  Water returning to the surface contains additional concentrations of brine and heavy metals.  Unfit for reclamation, it is consequently pumped back into the depths for “permanent storage,” effectively eliminating it from the environment. 

Water used in fracking is lost forever. 

Corson Hirschfeld

Norman

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