2.2 Billion. That is an estimated 2,200,000,000 gallons of waste water or “produced water” coming out of Colorado fracking wells in 2012 alone, as reported by Environment America. We know that the number of wells increased by about 10% to 53,288 in January of 2015, so the number is probably about 2.6 billion gallons of toxic water that must be disposed of this year.
Another source says wells release 6 barrels of produced water for every barrel of oil/ gas. According to the COGCC website, Colorado has produced 177.8 thousand barrels of oil/ gas per day so far in 2015.
What do we do with this obscene amount of polluted water? Many creative ideas have been used. The industry sprays it on roads and fields “to keep the dust down”, they force it into Class II injection wells which are known to cause earthquakes, and some is stored in open pits, releasing pollution into the air and causing the death to animals and birds unaware of the toxic stew they drink or bathe in. Recently we discovered that a landfill near Erie would be accepting produced water and drilling mud, adding bulking agents, allowing it to dry (causing air pollution) then burying it.
The latest plan to get rid of this nasty liquid is to ship it to Nebraska, where it would be injected into wells drilled through the Ogallala Aquifer. How can this be a great idea? People in Nebraska, including area farmers and ranchers, are vehemently opposed. This aquifer is a national treasure of pure water used for drinking and agriculture. The aquifer is 174,000 mi², and extends through most of Nebraska, and parts of 7 other states, including Colorado.
Bold Nebraska and Nebraska Sierra Club are joining together urging people to speak up to stop these injection wells from permanently contaminating the Ogallala Aquifer. You can sign the petition here.
It will be a better day when we switch to renewables and stop this insanity called fracking.