You will have heard many stories about fracking and water contamination. This is how we ensure there is none:
- Wells are triple lined with steel and cement through sensitive areas to ensure no leakage. The Health and Safety Executive must approve the design, inspect it, and receive weekly updates from an independent examiner.
- 99.5% of any fluid used is a mixture of water and sand. Some chemicals are used to aid the process. These chemicals must be submitted to the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) and must be non-hazardous to groundwater.
- Onsite handling of chemicals is regulated by SEPA to protect the environment from the risk of spillages. Each site is designed with an impermeable membrane and systems for the collection of any surface run off. Chemicals are stored in separate bunded areas and any waste material stored in double skinned tanks.
- Waste management is regulated by SEPA under the EU Mining Waste Directive (one of 17 EU Directives the industry must comply with). Waste may be treated on site or collected by a permitted waste handling company to a permitted waste facility.
- Regulations in most of the UK do not allow hydraulic fracturing at depths of less than 1,200 metres beneath any land which at the surface is within 50 metres of where water is abstracted from underground strata and is used to supply water for domestic or food production purposes.
CIWEM and Water UK has reviewed recent reports into shale gas extraction, and believes that while there are potential risks to water and wastewater services, these can be mitigated given proper enforcement of the regulatory framework