Friday, December 04, 2015

Fracking in Florida: What a Lovely Idea by our legislature. By Geniusofdespair

Class 1 Wells - wells used to inject hazardous waste. There are 6 classes of injection wells.

What I can figure out is that in fracking they blast rock underground from above with enormous amounts of chemicals and water under pressure to release the oil/gas in the rock formation. I think that is fracking. Close enough? However, here is the problem.

According to the DEP there are 180 active Class 1 injection wells in Florida for hazardous waste. Those wells put the nasty water below the boulder zone.  So, if we start fucking with the boulder zone, blasting away, won't the wastewater and other crap we inject below it be able to migrate up into our drinking water? Is the boulder zone the bedrock? If not, won't all that pressure activity underground, where the bedrock is, cause fractures above? After all, fracking is causing over 140 earthquakes a year in Oklahoma, a State that only had 1.6 a year before fracking. You can not predict what it will do here with all our injection wells and porous rock.

Now that deep well (deepest in Florida) they are drilling at Virginia Key is starting to make sense. I think  it is purely for fracking research.  Miami Dade Water and Sewer is trying to recover the cost for it from Tallahassee. 

Not a scientist but I would appreciate being enlightened. We know the aquifer groundwater flows like a river (revealed in the now infamous pink water story in Miami New Times - required reading) so a crack in one place will cause havoc everywhere. Won't it? I think that our legislators in Tallahassee are certifiably crazy. One sane Representative, Javier Jose Rodriguez said (page 12 of Miami Herald):
"Passing this bill would effectively lay out a welcome mat for the fracking industry." (HB 191 passed 9-3 in Committee)
All Classes of wells in Florida. See DEP website for a description of them. They want to FRACK here in a place with all these man-made fractures in our surface. Clusterfuck, really.

Also see:
Millions of homes and businesses who are customers of Florida Power & Light will be financing as much as $500 million a year in unregulated natural gas fracking projects conducted by the state’s largest utility, state regulators decided June 18th.

Miami Dade County EVEN did a resolution (Sponsored by Daniella Levine Cava) opposing fracking and voted unanimously against fracking.


Anonymous said...

You are mis-characterizing some of the facts. Time to be enlightened by a geologist.

First some background and definitions
Hydrocarbons (oil and natural gas) are often found in organic rich shale formations. Shale is usually a very impermeable rock and this property prevents the migration and extraction of hydrocarbons from these formations. Fracking (short for hydrofracturing) is a process whereby fluids are injected under high pressure into hydrocarbon bearing rock formations in order to open fractures in the rock which make the formations more permeable and allows extraction of the hydrocarbon. It does not involve blasting.

Wastewater injection wells are typically drilled to the depth of the "Boulder Zone", a highly cavernous region of the Floridan Aquifer which in southern Florida is found at a depth of around 3,000 feet beneath the surface. It has nothing to do with boulders. While the Floridan is used for water supplies in central and northern Florida, in southeast Florida, our water supply comes from the Biscayne Aquifer, a thin surficial aquifer which is separated from the Floridan by 1000 ft of impermeable rock. The famous "pink water story" refers to the Biscayne Aquifer. Wastewater injection has been around for a very long time. Currently, the south Dade wastewater treatment plant injects all its treated effluent into the Boulder Zone. This will now have to start at the Virginia Key since the Federal government is prohibiting discharge of treated effluent into the Atlantic. The exploratory well has absolutely nothing to do with fracking. So stop your silly conspiracy theories. If you don't like it, then stop flushing the toilet so much.

Any proposed fracking will occur in much deeper and older hydrocarbon source rock found well beneath the the Boulder Zone. Whether this will caused increased seismicity as in Oklahoma is an open question and warrants further study. Be aware that even with new technology Florida will always lag far behind Oklahoma in oil and gas production. We just don't have the right kind of geology.

Geniusofdespair said...

Thanks for sharing your knowledge. Except I Don't agree with all. We already have a Swiss cheese situation with all the injection wells and porous limestone. Setting off explosions underground can't be helpful to the integrity of either. Maybe that very deep exploratory well is being dug because they already know there are fractures ( and are not telling us) and they need somewhere to put the sewage where it won't migrate up to our aquifer . Maybe they are looking for a better confining layer than the boulder zone.

Anonymous said...

Where the hell do Florida politicians live that they take such chances with their own health, their children's health and the future drinking water for the 2/3 of the state of Florida?

CNBC in June of 2015 reported that the injection of the polluted water/petroleum is causing the quakes:

"Scientists at Stanford University have found that earthquakes near oil drilling operations are not caused by the drilling or fracking process itself, but by those operations' disposal of waste water in deep rock formations.
"It is not caused by the hydraulic fracturing process at all," said Mark Zoback, a professor of geophysics at Stanford and the study's co-author. Zoback said quakes are being caused by "what they call 'produced water'—water that comes out of the ground with the oil and gas."
Drilling operations expose natural, brackish underground water that is mixed in with petroleum. It comes up with the drilled oil or gas, and is then injected back into the earth as waste."

Anonymous said...

All it took to make me a beliver was seeing the kichen sink faucet fires after natural gas intruded into private wells through the fractures in the ground.

OrangAware said...

Apathy and greed!! Bad combination. It is going to take a bad accident or contamination for Floridians to wake up and demand a ban on fracking in Florida - and then it will be too late.
It is a sad fact that we have no real representation in our State government. There are a few State reps working on a ban but are up against a lot of opposition by those beholding to special interests and big corporate money. Sadly, we have no one looking out for the best interests of the residents of this State and, it seems, we do not even have power in our vote.
It is also incredible that in our Sunshine State, we are being denied open access to solar energy alternatives.
Sheesh! We have an idiot Senator (running for President) who thinks we don't have enough science in on climate change and that humans have not contributed to the crisis!!
There are plenty of petitions out there, hopefully, getting the message to our reps.
Here are a few - can't hurt to sign 'em all...

dwyerj1 said...

Professor Albert Hine of USF published an excellent book, _Geologic History of Florida: Major Events that Formed the Sunshine State_ (2013).

He discusses the “cavernous” Boulder Zone as developing from 600 m down to 1,000 m in fractured dolomite (CaMg[CO3]2, transformed from CaCO3 by the addition of magnesium. The carbonate platform resting upon the Gondwana basement rock is more than 3 miles thick [5 km or nearly 20,000 feet] in South Florida--not to be confused with 3,000 feet. The “boulders are produced by chunks of extremely porous dolomite falling to the bottom of the drill hole where they are rolled around by the drill bit, making it difficult to continue to drill” (114) deeper than 1/5 of the way through the carbonate platform.

This boulder zone consists of caverns developed at several levels connected by vertical “pipes” or solution tubes similar to a modern cave system. “A 30 m diameter cavern reported in the subsurface in southern Florida,” he writes, “probably is one of these vertical solution tubes” (ibid.). Important to consider is what dissolves Carbonate rocks, acidic water moving through the rocks. Acidity can come from simple rainwater, average pH in Florida is 4.77. It becomes even more acidic by dissolving pollutants in the air to produce sulfuric acid (H2SO4) and nitric acid (HNO3) as well as carbonic acid [not to mention the petroleum industry’s acidizing formulae]. So the oil industry in Florida utilizes acid fracking, acid in much higher concentrations than ever before, acid that melts bone, steel, and rock. "Blasting" is a good metaphor for what happens.

Florida not only lacks Oklahoma's geology, because of its Swiss cheese-like porousness, it has only scant quantities of low-quality sour crude. Besides that, as people who've lived here through the decades well know, the waters beneath us flow quickly up, down, and sideways. There are no REAL confining layers for the oil, the fracking chemicals, or the wastewater. There's no such thing as a permanently impermeable membrane.