The Marcellus shale is a layer of sedimentary rock roughly one mile below the surface of the central Appalachians. This shale contains significant quantities of natural gas, and new technologies have made it feasible to develop. The production of commercial quantities of shale gas requires millions of gallons of water to drill and hydraulically fracture (frack) the rock. Sand and chemicals are added to the water, which is forced into the shale under very high pressure. The wastewater that returns to the surface containing formation brine from the earth and the chemicals used for fracking must be treated and disposed of properly to avoid contaminating soil and water.
While natural gas is a cleaner burning fossil fuel than coal, and a domestic resource, fracking can have severe impacts on the ecology and the homes surrounding the drill sites. Explore our site to find out more about how fracking can impact your area.