Hydraulic Fracturing Fluids Likely Harmed Threatened Kentucky Fish Species

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Hydraulic Fracturing Fluids Likely Harmed Threatened Kentucky Fish Species

Post by Bryant on Wed Aug 28, 2013 7:16 pm

Hydraulic Fracturing Fluids Likely Harmed Threatened Kentucky Fish Species
United States Geological Survey Press Release
Diana Papoulias and Tom MacKenzie
Article


Hydraulic fracturing fluids are believed to be the cause of the widespread death or distress of aquatic species in Kentucky's Acorn Fork, after spilling from nearby natural gas well sites. These findings are the result of a joint study by the U.S. Geological Survey and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The Acorn Fork, a small Appalachian creek, is habitat for the federally threatened Blackside dace, a small colorful minnow. The Acorn Fork is designated by Kentucky as an Outstanding State Resource Waters.

"Our study is a precautionary tale of how entire populations could be put at risk even with small-scale fluid spills," said USGS scientist Diana Papoulias, the study's lead author. "This is especially the case if the species is threatened or is only found in limited areas, like the Blackside dace is in the Cumberland."

The Blackside dace typically lives in small, semi-isolated groups, so harmful events run the risk of completely eliminating a local population. The species is primarily threatened with loss of habitat.

After the spill of hydraulic fracturing fluid, state and federal scientists observed a significant die-off of aquatic life in Acorn Fork including the Blackside dace as well as several more common species like the Creek chub and Green sunfish. They had been alerted by a local resident who witnessed the fish die-off. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Commonwealth of Kentucky are currently working towards restoration of the natural resources that were injured by the release.

To determine the cause of the fish die-off, the researchers collected water and fish samples immediately following the chemical release in 2007.

The samples analyses and results clearly showed that the hydraulic fracturing fluids degraded water quality in Acorn Fork, to the point that the fish developed gill lesions, and suffered liver and spleen damage as well.

"This is an example of how the smallest creatures can act as a canary in a coal mine," said Tony Velasco, Ecologist for the Fish and Wildlife office in Kentucky, who coauthored the study, and initiated a multi-agency response when it occurred in 2007. "These species use the same water as we do, so it is just as important to keep our waters clean for people and for wildlife."

The gill lesions were consistent with exposure to acidic water and toxic concentrations of heavy metals. These results matched water quality samples from Acorn Fork that were taken after the spill.

After the fracturing fluids entered Acorn Fork Creek, the water’s pH dropped from 7.5 to 5.6, and stream conductivity increased from 200 to 35,000 microsiemens per centimeter. A low pH number indicates that the creek had become more acidic, and the stream conductivity indicated that there were higher levels of dissolved elements including iron and aluminum.

Blackside dace are a species of ray-finned fish found only in the Cumberland River basin of Kentucky and Tennessee and the Powell River basin of Virginia. It has been listed as a federally-threatened species by the Service since 1987.

Hydraulic fracturing is the most common method for natural gas well-development in Kentucky.

The report is entitled "Histopathological Analysis of Fish from Acorn Fork Creek, Kentucky Exposed to Hydraulic Fracturing Fluid Releases," and is published in the scientific journal Southeastern Naturalist, in a special edition devoted to the Blackside dace.

To learn more about this study and other contaminants research, please visit the USGS Environmental Health web page, the USGS Columbia Environmental Research Center, or the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Environmental Contaminants web page.

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Re: Hydraulic Fracturing Fluids Likely Harmed Threatened Kentucky Fish Species

Post by Sir Pun on Wed Aug 28, 2013 8:56 pm

Oh no a tiny creek with minnows in trouble! Also, didnt the article say that there was a fracking fluid spill? Meaning its not the result of the fracking process.

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Re: Hydraulic Fracturing Fluids Likely Harmed Threatened Kentucky Fish Species

Post by Sir Pun on Wed Aug 28, 2013 8:59 pm

Youre talking about direct groundwater contact, which doesnt take place thousands of feet down where the fracking is happening. Even obamas own energy secy says theres no proof of frackingcontaminating groundwater, and weve been doing it for 60 years.

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Re: Hydraulic Fracturing Fluids Likely Harmed Threatened Kentucky Fish Species

Post by Bryant on Wed Aug 28, 2013 9:16 pm

Sir Pun wrote:Youre talking about direct groundwater contact, which doesnt take place thousands of feet down where the fracking is happening. Even obamas own energy secy says theres no proof of frackingcontaminating groundwater, and weve been doing it for 60 years.
The release doesn't specify if the contaminant was introduced into the phreatic or vadose zones, however it does show that the practices from that field have had a direct and dramatic impact on aquatic organisms. I'm not terribly concerned what a politician says, it appears we have conclusive evidence of fracking fluids entering streams and causing die offs.

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Re: Hydraulic Fracturing Fluids Likely Harmed Threatened Kentucky Fish Species

Post by Marconius on Wed Aug 28, 2013 9:47 pm

What are fracking fluids???

Careful now. You know most questions I ask are loaded.

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Re: Hydraulic Fracturing Fluids Likely Harmed Threatened Kentucky Fish Species

Post by Bryant on Wed Aug 28, 2013 10:09 pm

Marconius wrote:What are fracking fluids???

Careful now. You know most questions I ask are loaded.
I'm not sure what chemicals they were, but we can always ask the lead investigator (her email is on the linked story).

EDIT: I just emailed the lead investigator. I asked her about what chemicals the fluid was and how specifically it was introduced to the stream. I'll give you guys an update when she gets back to me.

Do remember, these scientists are civil servants. If you have questions for them, ask them. Usually the scientists are happy to explain their work so long as the query is stated politely.

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Re: Hydraulic Fracturing Fluids Likely Harmed Threatened Kentucky Fish Species

Post by Marconius on Wed Aug 28, 2013 10:26 pm

It is over 90% water with about 8% sand. There are also some exotic salts and brines(like potassium chloride and zinc bromide<-bad stuff IMO) added that make up less than 1%.

Now if it came out of hole, it could contain lots of stuff, but that isn't and shouldn't be held in containment. It should be disposed of and is highly regulated. Stiff fines are applied for any release of fluid that came from downhole. Hell it could even be radiated.

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Had the Japanese got as far as India, Gandhi's theories of "passive resistance" would have floated down the Ganges River with his bayoneted, beheaded carcass. -- Mike Vanderboegh.

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Re: Hydraulic Fracturing Fluids Likely Harmed Threatened Kentucky Fish Species

Post by Sir Pun on Thu Aug 29, 2013 8:14 am

Well i would expect there to be just as many regulations in place with the dispersal of fracking fluids, as there are with oil spills or leaks. Sure, both can have environmental impacts if not properly contained.

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Re: Hydraulic Fracturing Fluids Likely Harmed Threatened Kentucky Fish Species

Post by Sir Pun on Thu Aug 29, 2013 8:15 am

Irradiated?

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Re: Hydraulic Fracturing Fluids Likely Harmed Threatened Kentucky Fish Species

Post by Bryant on Thu Aug 29, 2013 10:26 pm

Marconius wrote:It is over 90% water with about 8% sand. There are also some exotic salts and brines(like potassium chloride and zinc bromide<-bad stuff IMO) added that make up less than 1%.

Now if it came out of hole, it could contain lots of stuff, but that isn't and shouldn't be held in containment. It should be disposed of and is highly regulated. Stiff fines are applied for any release of fluid that came from downhole. Hell it could even be radiated.
Here is a link to the paper. It said that the fluids overflowed retention pits.

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Re: Hydraulic Fracturing Fluids Likely Harmed Threatened Kentucky Fish Species

Post by Marconius on Thu Aug 29, 2013 10:53 pm

Sir Pun wrote:Irradiated?
NORM(naturally occuring radioactive material) is very common in oil and gas production. We pay tons of money to detect and dispose of it.

When you dig deep, you come across stuff that is radiated.

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Re: Hydraulic Fracturing Fluids Likely Harmed Threatened Kentucky Fish Species

Post by Marconius on Thu Aug 29, 2013 10:54 pm

Bryant wrote:
Marconius wrote:It is over 90% water with about 8% sand. There are also some exotic salts and brines(like potassium chloride and zinc bromide<-bad stuff IMO) added that make up less than 1%.

Now if it came out of hole, it could contain lots of stuff, but that isn't and shouldn't be held in containment. It should be disposed of and is highly regulated. Stiff fines are applied for any release of fluid that came from downhole. Hell it could even be radiated.
Here is a link to the paper.  It said that the fluids overflowed retention pits.
They should pay a hefty fine. That is inexcusable.

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"We have four boxes used to guarantee our liberty: The soap box, the ballot box, the jury box and the cartridge box". -- Ambrose Bierce (1887)

"All right, they're on our left, they're on our right, they're in front of us, and they're behind us. They can't get away this time!" -Gen. L. "Chesty" Puller, CO, 1 MARDIV, in Korea surrounded by 22 enemy divisions

Had the Japanese got as far as India, Gandhi's theories of "passive resistance" would have floated down the Ganges River with his bayoneted, beheaded carcass. -- Mike Vanderboegh.

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Re: Hydraulic Fracturing Fluids Likely Harmed Threatened Kentucky Fish Species

Post by Sir Pun on Fri Aug 30, 2013 11:13 am

As i figured. See, the antifracketa would want us to believe this was the direct product of fracking, when it was more along the lines of a spill

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Re: Hydraulic Fracturing Fluids Likely Harmed Threatened Kentucky Fish Species

Post by Bryant on Fri Aug 30, 2013 5:12 pm

Sir Pun wrote:As i figured. See, the antifracketa would want us to believe this was the direct product of fracking, when it was more along the lines of a spill
This was a direct result of a fracking operation. There are a lot of half assed shops out there.

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Re: Hydraulic Fracturing Fluids Likely Harmed Threatened Kentucky Fish Species

Post by Sir Pun on Fri Aug 30, 2013 8:38 pm

No different than drilling for oil. Isnt that what the governmental regulatory agencies are there for? To address it?

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