Colorado Flooding Caused Fracking Wells to Leak; Major Water Contamination PossibleNov 1, 2013
Record rainfall and widespread flash flooding has caused billions of dollars in damage to central Colorado. But the full environmental impact of the rain remains undetermined as experts don’t yet know how many of the state’s thousands of hydraulic fracturing (fracking) wells were impacted.
Salon.com recently participated in a flyover of the affected flooded area, near Weld County, Colo., and noted there were at least 10 reports of oil and natural-gas spills in the area already. Many believe there will be more, and aside from the cleanup efforts that will commence when the flood waters recede, people living closest to the fracking wells here are likely wondering whether toxic leakage from these sites has contaminated their home.
There are at least 20,000 active fracking wells in this one Colorado county, and no certainty regarding the ultimate consequences of contamination caused by these wells leaking onto their property, Salon.com reports.
In our reports on fracking in the past, we’ve noted the risk that comes with leaking fracking wells across the country. Poorly designed well shafts and retention pools that hold fracking wastewater only add to the risk of the contaminants used or created during the fracking process leaking from those sites.
From above, in a plane operated by environmental activist group EcoFlight, Salon.com notes that streams of discolored and likely contaminated water can be seen leaking from fracking well sites and into the South Platte River.
Under normal circumstances, we’ve noted that fracking well leaks that run into nearby streams can lead to widespread contamination, creating phenomena such as large-scale death among nature, such as piles of decomposing fish beside a river grown toxic. Water that’s been contaminated with fracking fluids contains high amounts of heavy metals like arsenic. Eventually, neighbors to fracking wells have argued, that toxic water eventually poisons private wells.