Fracking and the Earthquake in Oklahoma

On Saturday, September 3, 2016, an earthquake shook large parts of Oklahoma, peaking on the richter scale at a 5.6. Typically a very stable region, it was immediately assumed that hydraulic fracturing was the cause of such a quake. While there is little proof at this time to say one way or another whether it was fracking or was fracking wastewater injection wells that led to the shake-up, one thing if for certain, fracking is not a statistically relevant cause of earthquakes. Let’s look at the facts.

First off, individuals need to understand that earthquakes do naturally happen in many places all over the world. You don’t see people immediately jumping to blame the recent earthquake in Italy on fracking. That’s because Italy doesn’t have fracking in the country, yet you still see earthquakes. There are fault lines all over the world that do shift and regularly cause movement without any man-made causes.

What is different about Oklahoma?

So, what has everyone jumping to blame fracking for the most recent Oklahoma earthquake? After the earthquake, the epicenter was identified close to a facility with 37 wastewater disposal wells. A wastewater injection well is one of many different options to get rid of the wastewater produced during the fracking process. Above ground storage tanks and in-ground storage tanks are some of the other options available. During the wastewater disposal process using a well, the contaminated water is forced deep into the ground through a pump system and left there to leak into aquifers.

However, while the association of the epicenter to this site may suggest that this disposal is the cause, work done by the National Research Council has found no overall correlation. A study produced by the council in 2012 titled Induced Seismicity Potential in Energy Technologies found that for over 35,000 horizontally fracked wells, there has only been a single detection of an earthquake caused by the process. While you may think that one is relevant, it is statistically insignificant. Additionally, the same study examined over 30,000 wastewater disposal wells in the same manner. It was found that this process caused earthquakes eight times, and only when the well was found directly over a fault line. Once again this is a statistically insignificant number. This study shows that no matter what individuals may assume about Oklahoma, there is absolutely no statistical correlation between earthquakes and hydraulic fracturing practices.

Finding a Different Solution

With all of this being said, if you are looking for wastewater disposal practices that don’t draw the criticism that wastewater disposal through wells does, consider the above ground storage tank solutions for fracking water from Well Water Solutions. Our process provides your company with solutions to keep contaminated water out of the earth and away from water sources. From transportable above ground storage tanks to water treatment, we can help find the right solution to best address water and fracking concerns. Contact us today to learn more about the services we can provide for your fracking and energy production business.  

Our Director
Willaim wright

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