Water Withdrawals

Water withdrawals of fresh water from our streams and rivers is currently unregulated.   Historically, gas wells in WV used under 100,000 gallons of water.  For Marcellus wells the amount of water used depends on whether it is a vertical well (600,000 to 2 million gallons) or a horizontal well (2 million to 5 million gallons) and how many times it is fracked (multiply 2 -5 million gallons times several fracks).  But water needed for one site doesn’t stop there because there are several wells drilled on one wellpad (from 4 to as many as 10).  This is a problem because that water is being sucked out of our streams and rivers.  The loss of fresh water from streams feeding our rivers means that some of the beneficial effect of dilution is lost.  Pollutants from other industries (coal, chemical plants, power, etc.) are therefore more concentrated at our public water intakes on rivers. Public treatment plants do not remove most pollutants such as salts, chemicals and heavy metals. Thus the pollutants pass through the system and out our taps.


Another issue is the impairment of aquatic life in those streams used to provide water for fracking.  Even headwater streams are being employed as water sources.  A dam is built to create a pool, a hose in inserted and then water is pulled out, leaving the stream running almost dry.  Water can be removed at a level that cannot sustain a healthy community of fish and insects.  In addition, sediment and erosion damage occurs. A very dramatic example of this is a stream in Wetzel County called Blake Run. A limestone roadway now shares the space that the streambed inhabits.

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