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News, commentary, and updates about our nations water supply.
News, commentary, and updates about our nations water supply.

WaterSupply's posts

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We present a series of articles on the deleterious impact upon the national economy, created by the methods utilized to supply water to southern California.

The required water resources were acquired through eminent domain, transported from thousands of miles away, and pumped over numerous mountain ranges.

Each time you get your power bill, note that the single largest consumer of electricity in the western states are the water pumps required to continue supplying water to southern California.

If you reside in a midwest, or an eastern state you might be thinking "Who cares about a drought in California?"

Unfortunately, California made some very unwise decisions in the 1960's. Those decisions have now put an agricultural industry in serious peril, left public utilities without benefit of hydroelectric power, and caused 20+ million of it's citizens to be uncertain about access to drinking water.

With basic survival at stake, the state will, again, turn north, and eastward for solutions to it's unsustainable infrastructure.

After review of the consumption rates of electricity of just two of the several water supply aqueducts bringing water over many miles to southern California, we calculate it to be $1.3 billion per year. Just these two aqueducts consume more than 7.5 million mWh's. That's not kWh's, that's mWh's. 

If you reside in a western, midwest, or an eastern state, you will feel the impact of California seeking to replace this energy from the national grids. 

Please go to: http://www.WaterSupply.Com to read any of the several articles on this topic.

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Our posts below are part of a series of articles on Hydraulic Fracturing on our web site, but we would have to post them here, in reverse order. We list them there as Part One, Part Two, etc, on our home page.  Please feel free to review each part there, in their proper order, as well.

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Part Two: Drilling, and Hydraulic Fracturing Within Shale Formations 

Drilling for natural gas pockets, within shale deposits, would not be financially viable, if one was forced to drill thousands of vertical holes, with only the hope of hitting a pocket of high natural gas density. Instead, only a few holes are drilled vertically, and then the drilling direction is changed to horizontal. A horizontal hole can travel miles through the middle of a shale formation. It need not hit a rich pocket of natural gas. It only has to come close. Fracking, or hydraulic fracturing does the rest. 

The goal of fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, is to accomplish the same goal as drilling thousands of vertical holes, but without the enormous costs, and frequent failures. A crack or fracture within the shale formation is just as good as a drilled hole. It is, in fact, far more effective for the driller, than would those many thousands of drilled holes. 

The natural gases, under high pressure due to the weight of the mass of rock pressing down upon them, can travel through the tens of thousands of fractures far more effectively than through many randomly chosen single drilling sites. The driller places a very long horizontal hole through the shale formation, fractures all rock within dozens of feet from their horizontal hole, and all gases near the fractures, or cracks, rush to escape through a drillers single designed location. 

So how does the driller fracture miles of shale rock formation? The weight, and mass of the rock is nearly beyond comprehension. 

They accomplish the task with something that has been fracturing rock for millions of years. They use water; lots of it, and under tremendous pressure. 

More information can be found at WterSupply.Com, and within our series on Hydraulic Fracturing, or Fracking.

Here is a video produced for court exhibits, and shown to jurors. This video provides more detail of the process, and notes that ease, and simplicity are not common to the process:

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The image is of a close up of a common type of shale formation.

Since the shale materials are sometimes high in organics, they will have a need for oxygen, in order to decompose. If the body of water, in which these sediments are deposited, cannot provide oxygen to these deeper regions, the process of decomposition of the organic materials turns to anaerobes (bacteria) to accomplish the task. This process is known as anaerobic decomposition. Fossil fuels are, nearly exclusively, a product of anaerobic decomposition. 

Unlike deposits of dead plants, and algae that decompose, and form beds of coal, or crude oil, these mixed deposits of organics, and inorganics finally harden into sedimentary rock. 

Sedimentary rock is porous, and filled with many cavities that could trap air, or other gases. Since the organics contained within the rock decomposed anaerobically, they produced methane, as well as other flammable gases. Natural gas is a mixture of all these flammable gases, but the majority of the gas, within the shale deposits is methane. These gases are trapped within the cavities. Shale deposits can, under ideal conditions, trap vast quantities of methane. Shale deposits do not trap gases uniformly. They often exist in pockets of high densities, surrounded by shale deposits containing little to no gases. 

Sandstone is an example of sedimentary rock containing little to no gases. Shales can exist in similar formations completely devoid of organics.

Image Credits: Photo by Flickr user Seldom Scene Photography
This file is utilized under: Creative Commons CC 2.0

More information can be found at:

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Part One: Shale Formations

Shale is a form of sedimentary of rock.

The rock is referred to as sedimentary, because the materials that form the rock typically accumulate as sediments, at the bottom of an ancient, and long extinct body of water. 

The sediments were laid down very slowly, over many hundreds, or even thousands of years. The sediments are sometimes high in organic material. If one would encounter such sediments, at the bottom of an existing lake, they would often simply be referred to as muck. Sediments that ultimately form shale also contain a high percentage of inorganic material, such as small grains of wind blown sands, and dust. 

The Image is of Middle Triassic marginal marine sequence, southwestern Utah.

More information about fracking, or Hydraulic Fracturing can be found at:

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The Mission Statement of WaterSupply.Com:

Present the nature of the new assaults on this nation's water supply, without causing a reader to just " tune out "  to save some of their remaining sanity.

Why will this be difficult to accomplish? 

Because we need to accomplish the following:

Maintain the attention of a reader that has:

∞  begun to hear the new political speeches, especially from Tea Party candidates, suggesting the need to shut EPA down, or repeal the Clean Water Act.

∞  watched this new generation of political candidates too young to remember the days prior to the establishment of the Clean Water Act, or days as recent as the 1970's, when rivers were so polluted, from deliberate industrial waste product disposal, that they actually caught on fire.

∞  watched their legislators, under the banner of conservatism, erode existing laws, and regulations designed to preserve (conserve) the natural resources of our country.

∞  read that their legislators attended a prayer meeting, just prior to voting against legislation enacting any form of environmental stewardship of what was described in Genesis 1; a portion of a writing they describe as scared.

∞  seen their legislator's campaign funds grow, as soon as they were supportive of corporations possessing the same rights as people.

∞  heard their legislators state their preference for business interests over protections of their constituent's health.

∞  lost faith in their legislators to protect them.

∞  given up on their legislators protecting our country for future generations.

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Why is the practice of hydraulic fracturing (Fracking) of such concern to residents of the United States?

Most of the objections to fracking (hydraulic fracturing) relate to the use of drilling, and fracturing aiding chemicals. The concern is the subsequent potential release of these chemicals, into drinking water aquifers adjacent the hole utilized to access, and extract natural gas(es). 

Holes are drilled down to reach gas bearing shale formations. They typically pass through drinking aquifers on the way down. If the walls of the gas well are not thoroughly sealed, and sealed throughout the entire length of the well, several things can occur.

∞ Drilling aiding chemicals can escape from the hole being drilled, into the aquifer.

∞ Fracturing aiding chemicals, and substances, can escape into aquifers, and potentially pollute them beyond levels safe for drinking. 

∞ Natural gas(es) can travel through the fractures created in the gas bearing shale formations, into the adjacent drinking water aquifers, rendering them potenitally unsafe to drink.

∞ If the hole drilled down to gas(es) bearing shale formations is not sealed thoroughly, and remain sealed for potentially as long as many decades, the gas(es) might migrate up threw the gaps in the well casings into drinking water aquifers, rendering them potentially unsafe to drink.

There are a number of quite significant concerns, such as the failure rate (as high as 7.2%) of the protections allegedly implemented by the drilling contractors. Concrete sleeves poured between the steel well casings, and the wall of the well drilled, can fail, and potentially release gas(es), and chemicals into adjacent aquifers. Other recent projections include abandoned wells. These projections suggest a failure rate of 50+%. 

Wells no longer producing enough natural gas to make them worth attending are usually abandoned. Even if they are no longer financially viable, they may continue to vent gases. The typical technique of abandonment is to fill the inner casing with concrete. This is intended to plug the well from venting. The plug, and well casing concrete may need to last for 100's of years, but no regulations exist regarding the quality of the plugging process. 

Wyoming, for example, has nearly 6000 abandoned wells that were never plugged. The taxpayer is left with a nearly $50 million bill to plug them, and the process will require 19 years. The nation now has over 100,000 wells, and few plans, if any, exist to address the abandonment, and successful plugging of these wells.

The regions throughout the U.S. where natural gas(es) bearing shale formations exist are dependent upon these aquifers for drinking water. The fossil fuel industry has lobbied to minimize environmental regulations from either being established to prevent the use, and/or release of these chemicals, into drinking water aquifers. 

So far, only New York state has banned fracking. That ban is, even now, under assault by New York state legislators willing to trade the value of the state's few drinking water aquifers, for the continued financial support they receive for their re-election campaigns. 

We have a series of articles on hydraulic fracturing at

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North Carolina Governor signs law that informs Doctors, EMT's, Firefighters, and other emergency personnel that they are among those who could be arrested, and charged if they reveal the contents of fracking chemicals, with patients.

Updated: June 5, 2013 

North Carolina keeps on hitting the headlines with laws passed by their legislators that beg for belief. I have to report their latest, and this is the third time on only 30 days that they hit the radar for complete disregard for U.S. constitutional protections, by passing their own state laws that ignore federal law, and even the First Amendment. It also seems clear that their new law forces a personal conflict for a Doctor's Hippocratic Oath, and prison. 

Now they've actually passed a law, and the Governor has signed into it to law, that would imprison, a firefighter, an EMT, nurses, and even Doctors, from telling a patient what is in the water that poisoned them. If you get sent to the hospital, and the EMT thinks fracking related chemicals poisoned your water supply, he can't tell you, he can't tell your Doctor, and even if he decides to break the law, and tell the Doctor, the Doctor can get sent to jail, if he tells you. 

More information at:
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