Fracking in the Mendips

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  • Fracking in the Mendips
  • richc
    Member

    To my shame I was watching in-side out West, and they were running a story on fracking in the Mendips; anyone else heard about this?

    After watching GasLand and living in this area this seems mental to me! Especially considering where all of Bristol’s drinking water comes from.

    More info
    http://nofrackinguk.com/?p=140

    rkk01
    Member

    Why ever not?

    Mendips well known for historical lead mining… as a society we’ve come over all prissy about exploiting natural resources*

    * or anything that involves getting a bit messy – ie not much primary or secondary industry around – we all try to run the unsustainable service sector economy…

    Premier Icon portlyone
    Subscriber

    ooooh the mining process… thought you meant… no matter.

    richc
    Member

    So you are pro poisoning the water table?

    I guess this sums up the issues I have with fracking over the main source water to Bristol/Bath:

    Many of the chemicals used in the fracking process are proven toxins. These include benzene, ethylbenzene, toluene, xylene, naphthalene, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, methanol, formaldehyde, ethylene glycol, glycol ethers, hydrochloric acid, sodium hydroxide, and others, which are hazardous if inhaled, ingested, or contacted by the skin and are considered caustic, carcinogenic, mutagenic, and teratogenic. Of the hundreds of chemicals tested by Endocrine Disruption Exchange, they report that 93% of them affect health and 43% are endocrine disruptors. Endocrine disruptors are man-made chemicals that, when absorbed into the body, mimic hormones or block hormones and disrupt the body’s normal function. They have been linked to infertility, ADHD, autism, diabetes, thyroid disorders. Even childhood and adult cancers have been found to be linked to fetal exposure to endocrine disruptors.

    NB: its well worth watching gasland, if you haven’t seen it.

    slowoldgit
    Member

    In case there are any interested people on here, this is a different viewpoint…

    http://skeptoid.com/episodes/4275

    rkk01
    Member

    benzene, ethylbenzene, toluene, xylene, naphthalene, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons

    – commonly called “oil” – likely to be found in the “water table” (groundwater) in the vicinity of, say, petrol stations…

    i’m not suggesting we go ahead and trash the environment for the sake of resources – but we do need a debate on the balancing of our material needs and their costs

    richc
    Member

    He’s the response to those counter claims:

    http://1trickpony.cachefly.net/gas/pdf/Affirming_Gasland_Sept_2010.pdf

    Interesting reading, but essentially people who live near these gas well, are getting very very ill due to contaminates appearing in their water that wasn’t there before the fracking started.

    … and finally if the water is safe after the process, why won’t any of the experts drink it?

    Not just the Mendips, I currently live just down the road from where they want to do lots of fracking in Lancashire. I mean about 3 fields away.

    Currently very worried. Just got everything sorted. Work, house and life finally looking a bit normal, and then this. 😕

    F all I will be able to do about it either. It’s either put up and shut up, or move. As much as I don’t want to, I think, eventually, this may be the only viable alternative.

    IF I will ever be able to sell my house.

    Angry and worried in equal measures. Don’t really know what the future holds now.

    Some people complain about wind turbines. I pray for wind turbines.

    richc
    Member

    hope your drinking bottled water 🙁

    rkk01
    Member

    richc – very little potable water supply in the UK comes direct from groundwater (by % of supply). Most people have their water supplied by the mains and the water company has a statutory duty to comply with drinking water standards. It is difficult to see how fracking could adversely affect this large (numerically overwhelmingly large) group of consumers.

    Yes, rural areas such as SW England, do have a higher number of “private supplies” which are drawn from locally abstratced groundwater. Any permissions granted would have to be protective of these supplies (and of the general aquifer resource). The EA have a statutory duty to protect controlled waters (groundwater) and the Local Authority have a duty to monitor the water quality of private supply wells…

    In this respect, shale gas extraction / fracking is no different to any other industrial activity – they have to operate within EU and UK law and are subject to regulatory approval and subsequent regulatory compliance…

    rkk01
    Member

    hope your drinking bottled water

    So where do you think the water in your tap comes from????

    slowoldgit
    Member

    @ rich c – is your linky, onetrickpony, a response to mine, skeptoid?

    Check the dates, July 2010 and Sept 2011 respectively.

    richc
    Member

    very little potable water supply in the UK comes direct from groundwater (by % of supply)

    Well I would count 33% as a bit more than a ‘little’ (http://www.groundwateruk.org/Is-The-Water-in-my-tap-groundwater.aspx) but it does depends on where you live.

    Most people have their water supplied by the mains and the water company has a statutory duty to comply with drinking water standards.

    This is fair enough, however the companies planning on extracting the gas deny there is any health issues or risk of health issues (which is in the processed of being proven to be untrue) So where does that leave us after they have poisoned the water, and are fighting the blame through the courts.

    richc
    Member

    Slowgit the points made in the article you posted are answered in the 2010 article, there wasn’t anything new in the skeptoid piece.

    Premier Icon Bunnyhop
    Subscriber

    MartynS from here knows a bit about this.

    He may be along later.

    bikebouy
    Member

    You need “absurd” and “outraged” in there somewhere.

    You not a NIMBY are you?

    Just askin like.

    The irony is, they want to build lots of new houses in the village, and lots of people are opposed. I’m in favour, as major deveolopment may mean they push the drilling site further away. Or not.

    In the end, money talks. Wether we want it there in the future or not, it will probably happen.

    I just don’t want to live right opposite it when it does.

    Would you ?

    richc
    Member

    You not a NIMBY are you?

    No I more of a NIABY – not in anyone’s back yard.

    Sorry, if that ruins your point of view ………

    I am usually find my opinion is against ‘**** stupid ideas’, controversial I know.

    rkk01
    Member

    Well I would count 33% as a bit more than a ‘little’

    No – that’s incorrect in the context of this debate.

    That 33% includes all of the groundwater supply provided via public supply boreholes by the major water companies mains supply – so all of the water abstracted from the chalk, for example… very, very many households – but via the mains and therefore under the water companies obligation to supply wholesome water. These are strategic supplies and are afforded considerable regulatory protection against contaminating activities.

    The problem would be for the small number of local private water supply wells and boreholes.

    So where does that leave us after they have poisoned the water, and are fighting the blame through the courts

    If they “poison“, lets say contaminate a public supply, they would probably face legal action from the EA (under criminal law) and probably costs for a new supply / upgraded treatment from the water company.

    If they contaminated a private household supply they would again face regulatory action from the EA and would likely face costs in compensating the householder – most likely through having to pay for the household to go onto mains supply. This is the same for any industry….

    I remember reading somewhere that a minor earthquake years ago near Shepton Mallet brought oil through fault lines to the surface. I guess, given the Mendip’s geo-aquatic history, there is many small reservoirs of oil and gas sandwiched between the Limestone and underlying Sandstone. It will be interesting to see how the fracking process accesses them without damaging the extensive underground aquifers and caves. It might make all the caving in Mendip rather hazardous!

    On the subject of industrial activity in the area – the impact of the old lead mines (the spoil tips are, rather oddly, protected landscapes) were minuscule compared with the devastation of modern limestone extraction – just look at this quarry near Frome:

    Google maps

    Pan around and you’ll see many other massive holes blown out of our hills.

    richc
    Member

    If they “poison”, lets say contaminate a public supply, they would probably face legal action from the EA (under criminal law) and probably costs for a new supply / upgraded treatment from the water company.

    Unless the Limited liability company goes bust…… (aka does a railtrack)

    rkk01
    Member

    Unless the Limited liability company goes bust…… (aka does a railtrack)

    Shouldn’t make any difference – except to the legal mechanism used.

    slowoldgit
    Member

    *Cards on table time*

    I used to work in something vaguely related.

    On the one side of this argument I see ‘Gaslands’ and opposition based partly on ignorance supported by internettery. On the other I see Halliburton and ‘energy in depth’, which is an oil industry mouthpiece.

    Somewhere in the middle, the science and engineering gets trampled on by both sides. That’s why I posted the linky to ‘skeptoid’. Did you look at the refs, rich?

    Here’s something to worry about. North Sea O&G production is in decline. We have to import at world prices, in competition with others. Our economy is going down the pan, theirs isn’t. Personally, I’d like to see more and more varied energy sources exploited safely. The alternative will see us shivering in the dark.

    richc
    Member

    That 33% includes all of the groundwater supply provided via public supply boreholes by the major water companies mains supply – so all of the water abstracted from the chalk, for example… very, very many households – but via the mains and therefore under the water companies obligation to supply wholesome water

    Also so you are trying to say that water from the aquifer layer fed into the water supply doesn’t count as ground water! How did you work that out?

    OK the water companies are supposed to purify it, however if the source has been poisoned surely all that’s going to do in a best case scenario is create shortage and a massive increase in water prices, worse case we end up with poisoned household supplies. Personally I would prefer they didn’t poison it in the first place.

    Shouldn’t make any difference – except to the legal mechanism used.

    Really? you do understand what limited liability means don’t you?

    bikebouy
    Member

    Nope no opinion here, just askin like.

    There was an application for oil drilling in the South Downs, I was for it.
    I’m for the one in Poole Harbour continuing as well.

    richc
    Member

    Did you look at the refs, rich?

    Yes, and I read them (slow day); did you look at the responses provided by Josh Fox to each of the points?

    Here’s something to worry about. North Sea O&G production is in decline. We have to import at world prices, in competition with others. Our economy is going down the pan. Personally, I’d like to see more and more varied energy sources exploited safely. The alternative will see us shivering in the dark.

    I agree something needs to be done, however I would prefer us not to rush into high profit, high risk technology when there are other options about, like teaching people to reduce there energy usage, and consumption.

    People seem to think that big business have all the answers, however the reality seems to be big business have all the answers if the question is how to turn a massive short term profit, and not worry about what happens beyond the next financial year.

    noteeth
    Member

    Mendip has a large & well-geologically-versed caving community – there will be plenty of eyes on this, I imagine.

    TBH, as a native of that corner of Somerset, I’d rather see economic retraction than any further trashing of the environment.

    Premier Icon lowey
    Subscriber

    They have suspended the process on the Fylde. A recent report admitted that a couple of earthquakes were probably caused by Fracking.

    klumpy
    Member

    As for ‘fracking is bad’ – dare say it can be, dare say it can not be, dare say it can be in between. I am automatically suspicious when the first I ever hear of a new technology or process is that it’s already been settled that it’s bad. (Such as GM crops and MMR.)

    All said though, I’d like to see us building nukes instead of mining for gas, but we just don’t.

    hels
    Member

    Somebody care to post a 5 word summary for what Fracking is ?

    I know what it means in Battlestar Galactica, and this thread was a bit of a disappointment, but it does sound like something I should know about.

    (I don’t dare google it at work !)

    slowoldgit
    Member

    Sorry, rich, josh’s stuff is absolutely unreadable to my tired old eyes. It’s something about the combination of red, blue and black with additional underlined and bold that’s too much.

    I did try to scan thru it but it makes my head ache.

    slowoldgit
    Member

    Hels.

    Gas exists under pressure in (some) shales. It stays there despite being at high pressure because it’s trapped in tiny holes*. Fracking (in my day it was hydraulic fracturing, but that’s too hard for politicians to remember) is the process of drill a hole, mask off the top part, pump fluid into the bottom part. This opens up multiple cracks into the shale. With the fluid add proppants (eg screened sand, ceramic beads) which get carried into the cracks and stop them subsequently closing completely. Release the pressure in the well, the gas starts to flow out through the network of cracks you’ve made.

    *I ought to look up how tiny.

    They have suspended the process on the Fylde. A recent report admitted that a couple of earthquakes were probably caused by Fracking.

    Suspended, for now. Where they want to drill next to me, is surrounded by dairy farms. I hate to think what would happen if the ground water was contaminated here. Like the dairy farmers need another kick in the nuts.

    It’s like I can see the train coming towards me, and I can’t get out of the way.

    🙁

    rkk01
    Member

    richc – I’m neither for nor against shale gas extraction. The industry needs to submit it’s proposed methods to the regulatory authorities and they need to do the actual regulation.

    My point is, this is one industry of many that could cause contamination of your water supplies. They will need to be regualted in the same way as any other potentially polluting industry…*(see below)

    Regarding groundwater water supplies – there are two very distinct types, although both have strong legal protection.

    Your “33%” are largely strategic supplies used by the water companies to feed the mains. These have very high and proactive levels of protection. Each source has a moelled “Source Protection Zone” or SPZ. This models the catchement area and water travel time to each pumped supply borehole. Any Planning Application for these areas activities that are subjected to very close scrutiny, with many activities being prohibited or severley restricted if they are clsoee to a supply borehole.

    The same legislation applies to private supply wells, which typically supply a household or small number or houses . The legal protections are the same, but the lower strategic importance inevitably results in a less proactive protection of these supplies. Any application would stilll have to outline how these would be protected – or provided with an alternative main supply.

    BTW – All this legal protection is down to good old EU bureaucracy… 😉
    i think the Tories call it “Red Tape”

    Ohh, and as for:

    Really? you do understand what limited liability means don’t you?

    Doesn’t make any difference to the regultor’s ability to take action, just the way that they proceed…

    * – many other industries that might be affecting your groundwater, and which are not obvious candidates for pollution in the public’s eye…
    – the water companies themselves, perhaps??? where do you think leaky sewers go???
    farming – large areas of the country have groundwater adversely affected by nitrates, phosphartes and agricultural chemicals

    noteeth
    Member

    Given Mendip geology (there’s a reason why it’s famous for caves…), it’s hardly surprising that people are worried about groundwater contamination.

    If it gets to a planning application stage, I suspect they will have a serious fight on their hands.

    richc
    Member

    Sorry, rich, josh’s stuff is absolutely unreadable to my tired old eyes. It’s something about the combination of red, blue and black with additional underlined and bold that’s too much.

    LoL fair point, it does need a black and white version. If you can hack the font and colours, he basically goes through each of the points raises in the skeptoid article and explains why he believes what he does, and provides supporting evidence.

    Premier Icon epicyclo
    Subscriber

    The problem with all these sort of ventures is that the companies can survive a legal action even if they are in the wrong.

    What is needed is legislation that squarely pins responsibility personally on the company officers who make the decision that something is safe.

    You can send a human to jail, but a company is only inconvenienced by fines.

    slowoldgit
    Member

    In the end, it helps if the shareholders feel the pain too, or see the potential.

    So are the rocks in question Lias or Carb shales? Does anyone know?

    Silurian I think, which makes them older, IIRC. Its been 19 years since my geology A level, so happy to be corrected!

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