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Water in Washington: At Risk from Fracking?

A miracle happens several times a day. You walk to your kitchen sink, twist a knob, and clean, drinkable water cascades down from the faucet and into your hands.

This water has weathered miles of travel. It may have been recycled and treated hundreds of times over; from a sink in New York City, down a river to a well in Delaware, through a drainpipe and to a spring in Maryland, to be treated and cycled until it finally reaches your faucet.

Most of the time, you drink clean water without a moment’s thought. But it takes an incredible amount of work, upkeep, and regulation to ensure that the water you drink won’t make you sick.

A potential threat to our water safety has unsurfaced. Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is suspected of contaminating the water supplies of several states across the country. As fracking continues to expand, this threat grows as well.

How dangerous is fracking for our water?

Hydraulic fracturing is the use of chemicals and materials to create horizontal fractures to stimulate production from gas and oil wells. Scientists worry that these chemicals may threaten groundwater either when underground or during the waste removal process.

Whether or not fracking actually contaminates groundwater has caused a lot of controversy. Though there have been over 1,000 reported cases of contamination related to fracking, many scientific studies remain inconclusive.

That’s not for lack of trying. The Governor of Maryland has recently proposed spending $1.5 million to research the dangers of fracking in the state. And the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is currently working on a study on “the dangers posed to drinking water sources by hydraulic fracturing,” due in 2016.

Could fracking affect the water in DC?

Currently, there is no hydraulic fracturing taking place in or around the District of Columbia. However, this might soon change, as Maryland opens up for fracking (amid protests from environmental groups). And extensive fracking in West Virginia may have even caused the earthquake that cracked the Washington Monument.

As fracking threatens to become a considerable part of our energy landscape, water safety is increasingly important.

Learn More at EcoHour!

Is fracking safe or unsafe? We’ll leave it up to you to decide. But before you do, you might want to learn more.

The task of protecting our water falls at the federal level to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). There are a surprising amount of complications surrounding something as simple and pure as water. We EcoWomen are lucky enough to hear from Nancy Stoner, EPA’s Assistant Administrator for Water, at our July EcoHour.

Nancy Stoner is a woman who lives and breathes water safety, and surely knows both sides of the argument. There are millions of websites giving one opinion or another about fracking, but sometimes it’s best to hear from the person working in the middle of it all.

Reserve your seat at EcoHour today!



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