On Jan. 9, about 300,000 West Virginia American Water customers were left without water after a stainless steel and cement containment wall at a nearby chemical plant was breached and failed to keep a toxic chemical from contaminating their public water source, the Elk River.
The spill occurred a mile upriver from the WVAW plant.
The chemical, methylcyclohexane, is also used in hydraulic fracturing.
This should be a wake-up call for local residents. Trust not in steel and cement walls and casings to protect local private and public water supplies, both under and above ground, from toxic fracking chemicals. Trust even less the plastic linings used in frack waste ponds and pits.
And don’t think that just because you have “public water” that you are immune to contamination from the massive amounts of hazardous chemicals being used by the shale-gas drilling industry all around us.
While these chemicals typically compose less than 0.5 percent by volume of hydraulic fracturing fluid, with a 3-million-gallon fresh water consumption rate per gas well per day, this could result in approximately 15,000 gallons of these chemicals being transported to, stored and mixed on one well site per day.
Don’t be fooled. What happened in Charleston, W.Va., can happen here, and it can happen to you.