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Fracking in Pennsylvania: What goes on behind the scenes?

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Another issue I asked about was noise. I couldn’t gauge it for myself, because aside from trucks delivering supplies the site was shut down during our visit. It’s not prudent to have untrained people wandering around when 30,000 hp of truck-mounted pumps are running, injecting fluids down a well at nearly 10,000 psi. When I inquired, I was told that the pumps themselves were loud, requiring ear protection nearby but not near the perimeter of the site. How far the sound carries beyond the site is a function of terrain, foliage and weather conditions.

Then there were the fluids themselves. An Anadarko engineer described the company’s approach to the five wells at this site as minimal and “green”. The fracking fluid was a simple “slickwater frac”. The main ingredients consisted of around 4 million gallons of water per well–much of it filtered and recycled from nearby gas wells–and 4-6 million pounds of sand, to prop open the fractures created by high-pressure water. The formula also includes a little hydrochloric acid for downhole cleanup, and two other ingredients: a low dose of “biocide” to prevent corrosion from bacterial growth in the well, and a friction reducer, without which significantly higher fracking pressure would be required. The details of the chemicals used at the pad will be available on the public disclosure site www.FracFocus.org once the wells are complete.

Leaks Cost Money

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