Frack Facts


  • Horizontal Hydraulic Fracturing, or “fracking”, is a method used to extract natural gas embedded within shale rock deep below the earth’s surface. The Marcellus Shale sits beneath large portions of the Upper Delaware River watershed region, and across a large swath of land in Northern, Western and South Central Pennsylvania.
  • Low volume, vertical fracking has been done for decades in Texas and the Western US, but High-Volume, Hydraulic Slickwater Fracturing was developed by Range Resources in 2003.
  • Hyrdol-fracking requires the use of numerous toxic chemicals, mixed with water and sand, injected deep underground using horizontal-drilling equipment that breaks apart shale rock and releases natural gas, natural contaminants, and sometimes even uranium, which is radioactive.
  • Hydro-fracking requires an average of 1-18 million gallons of fresh water per well, and may be re-fracked up to 18 times to stimulate production.
  • A frack well can extend underground up to a mile from the wellbore.
  • Gas companies are exempt from sections the Safe Drinking Water Act (1974), the Clean Air Act (1970) and the Clean Water Act (1972) as a result of a loophole inserted into the Energy Policy Act (2005). This is known as “The Halliburton Loophole.”
  • The FRAC Act (Fracturing Responsibility and Awareness to Chemical Act) is a House bill intended to repeal the Halliburton Loophole and to require the natural gas industry to disclose the chemicals they use.
  • “Frack Water” is produced wastewater bi-product produced in massive volumes. It contains hundreds of chemicals, many of them carcinogens, neurotoxins or chemicals linked to detrimental changes to our endocrine systems.
  • Disposing of massive quantities of Frack “Flowback” is a major industrial dilemma. Municipal water treatment facilities are not equipped to remove the chemicals it contains. Currently, frack water is stored onsite in open, lined pools, and later removed by tanker trucks to waste recycling facilities, which return the water to gas drillers for more fracking, or submit it to traditional water treatment plants.
  • 9,325 Marcellus Shale well permits (3,225 just in 2011), 4,381 Marcellus wells have been drilled (1,797 in 2011). Thousands of miles of high-pressure pipelines have been lain, numerous processing and compressor stations have been constructed, and billions of gallons of fresh water has been used for fracking.
  • The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is the state government agency charged with permitting and regulation of the Natural Gas Industry.
  • In 2012, total violations issued by DEP to gas industry Operators in Pennsylvania averaged 12-per-day. In 2011, there was an average of 1.8 documented violations per inspection, including illegal discharges into streams and tributaries, explosions, spills and toxic air pollution.
  • Pennsylvania leads the nation in “Fraccidents“, including blow-outs, explosions, spills, leaks and truck accidents.
  • Local water well pollution, in the form of shallow methane migration, can be so extreme that residents are able to ignite the liquid flowing from their taps.
  • A 2010 Rodale Institute survey, among Americans who say they are very or somewhat aware of fracking, 40% are “very concerned” and nearly 30% are “somewhat concerned” about its effect on water quality. Concerns about fracking and water quality are bipartisan, including 57% of Republicans, 74% of Independents, and 86% of Democrats.
  • The Delaware River Basin Commission, which is comprised of the Governors of New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware, along with an appointed Director and committee members from each state, is the sole entity legally empowered to halt this highly controversial drilling practice. To protect drinking water, Philadelphia and New York City recently urged the DRBC to keep the current drilling moratorium in place until further studies were concluded. However, on December 8, 2010, the DRBC released drilling regulations which are currently in an extended public comment period.
  • Governor Tom Corbett [R] asked the multidisciplinary Marcellus Shale Advisory Commission, chaired by Lt. Governor Jim Cawley, to recommend changes to the state’s current Oil & Gas Act (1984). Act 13, “The Impact Fee”, was signed into law on February 14, 2012.
  • According to the PA Budget and Policy Center, the lack of a state-wide drilling tax cost Pennsylvania nearly $300 million in 2011.
  • The Delaware River supplies fresh drinking water to over 15.6 million people living in the Philadelphia region of Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey and Delaware – 5% of the US population.
  • The Susquehanna River is 464 miles long, and it is the longest river on the American east coast that drains into the Atlantic Ocean. Flows through three states, New York, Pennsylvania, and Maryland, its watershed empties into the Chesapeake Bay. American Rivers named the Susquehanna River The Most Endangered River in America of 2012.

For more information, visit: or Hydraulic Fracturing 101


2 Responses to “Frack Facts”

  1. The Year Fractivism Exploded « Keep Tap Water Safe Says:

    […] 5.  Frack Facts […]

  2. Paul Roden Says:

    Fracking is too dangerous, too expensive and unnecesary for our energy needs. Read the following linked article in the November 2009 Scientific American. We can convert the world’s energy supply to renewable energy by 2030 without fossil or nuclear energy. Germany’s goal is to get off fossil fuel and nuclear power. by 2016 80% of their energy will be from renewable sources. Their economy is growing while the amount of energy they use is lowering.

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