Avni Desai, MD, Public/Community Health, 11:43AM Feb 14, 2013
"Water water everywhere, not a drop to drink!"I think about this caption today, I can say that the safety of drinking water has been on our minds since a long time. Lets us see how water under the ground can potentially be contaminated. The process of hydraulic fracturing, involves drilling into rock to allow emissions of gas or fluid for reserves. During this process, the water accessed is usually discarded back into the drilled hole, or treated for use. The big question is, since the Earth has a rock layer, does drilling into it; meaning we are effectively creating a crack or fissure in the rock plate to reach the gas/liquid gas beneath it.However, if in this process, we create a channel of communication between the water, which is below the rock layer as well, then we are contaminating the water. Although, treated with chemicals, and other systems like ozone purification later, it may still hold the potential pollutants, much longer than we may know. I quote from the EPA website that by 2020, about 20% of the natural gas obtained will be shale gas through drilling or hydraulic fracturing processes. This means that a lot of the water under the rock layer will be wasted and/or likely contaminated.
Recently, the country has seen that drinking water, in most cities, contains drugs of various kinds,especially antidepressants, and other class drugs.This is the same water that flows through the taps in our homes, and we are
using it for human consumption. . This same water is being channelized to provide water for schools, universities and other public buildings. This serious issue should be dealt with immediately. There is an urgent need for a public health action. Question here is not what Government can do.. but what can you do? We are putting ourselves at risk everyday, but certainly,some risks can be minimized by action on the individual's part.
You can make sure the drugs you take are not excessive. Check with your doctor, if you do not need the medication anymore,there must be safer methods of discarding the remaining medicine without endangering the environment. With this development, the safety of the water we drink is certainly in question and people of this country will appreciate any efforts on the part of the EPA to investigate further contamination of water due to activities to obtain shale gas.