Hydraulic fracturing (fracking) allows energy companies to drill holes and then break rocks with high-pressure fluids, allowing access to natural gas that many tout as a step toward energy independence.
While this may allow access to cleaner natural gas, many are worried that the process also causes harm to people in their area, such as through fracking water contamination. Some people living near drilling operations claim their well water is contaminated and they have become ill.
In February 2011, The New York Times ran a series of investigative articles on the fracking process. Thousands of internal documents the NYT obtained from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), state regulators, and drillers indicated “the dangers to the environment and health are greater than previously understood.”
Wastewater from the fracking process might be transported to a sewage plant that is not equipped to treat it. It may then enter our drinking water through rivers.
The EPA is studying the effects of fracking and the extent of fracking contamination and whether it may affect our health. In the meantime, some are claiming harm from the fracking process and exploring their legal options to recover damages they claim are related to fracking water contamination.
Areas at Risk of Fracking Contamination
As of July 2014, fracking is currently occurring in at least 25 states. This is according to FracTracker.org, a resource that provides current information and data regarding fracking activities across the United States.
While fracking is occurring in many states, much of the activity centers around the Marcellus Shale, a 95,000-square-mile layer of thick rock that holds an enormous reservoir of gas. The gas reserve beneath the Marcellus Shale spans Pennsylvania and many other states, including part of New York. Fracking in New York is also a reality.
How does fracking water contamination affect you?
Fluids used in the high-pressure fracking process include various chemicals, and even some naturally-occurring hazards. This process can contaminate ground water for residents of areas where fracking is occurring.
Those who use wells for drinking water may be at risk of fracking water contamination and might suffer health effects as a result. A report in the journal Human and Ecological Risk Assessment listed hundreds of chemicals used in fracking processes.
The authors found the various chemicals could possibly affect multiple body systems and organs.
- respiratory system.
- cardiovascular system.
- nervous system.
- and , possibly cancer.
What do I do if exposed to fracking water contamination?
If you suffer health problems you suspect are related to fracking water contamination, speak with your doctor about your concerns. Your doctor can review your symptoms and provide a diagnosis. He or she might also help you determine if fracking might be related to your current symptoms. This might be important if you decide to pursue legal action for damages.
Also speak with a lawyer about your concerns. Depending on the circumstances, you may be eligible to file a claim against a drilling company. Your attorney can help you determine if a particular party might be liable for your condition and damages. This might include medical expenses, reduced earning capacity, pain and suffering, and more depending on the specifics of the case.
Contacting an Attorney
If you require legal assistance to evaluate your options to recover compensation for damages related to fracking water contamination, call Gacovino, Lake & Associates at 800-550-0000. You may also contact us online to set up a consultation about your case.