When fracking and hydro dams collide


B.C. is home to big dams. B.C. is also home to big fracking operations. Are the fracking industry and B.C.’s giant
hydro dams on a dangerous collision course? There’s been an explosion in fracking in
B.C.’s gas-rich Montney region. Fracking companies inject massive amounts
of water, sand and chemicals deep underground to force oil and gas to the surface. But an increase in fracking means an increase
in earthquakes. Internal government documents show BC Hydro
predicted the Montney region would experience a “carpet bombing” of new fracking development. But these documents also show BC Hydro has
concerns about the potentially dangerous implications of fracking near its Peace River dams — particularly its Peace Canyon dam.” Dave Unger was a construction manager at the
dam in 2007. He felt disturbing tremors at the dam not
once, but three times — tremors he thinks were linked to oil and gas operations. When I was sitting in my office, I felt a
real tremor and my stomach went into my throat. I leapt out of my chair. I opened up the door and I could hear a ‘ping’
as the concrete split right from the office door right out to the front door, which is
a hundred feet away. And a small hairline fracture took place. That really woke me up. But now that fracking has been introduced,
I’m really concerned. The weak foundation will eventually erode. And you don’t know when the tipping point
will be reached. So I’m really concerned, especially about
the Peace Canyon dam. There just seems to be nobody paying any attention to this. “A triangle shaped wedge tears out of the asphalt and concrete…” Nearly 60 years ago a dam in Los Angeles reached that tipping point. When the Baldwin Hills dam failed, five people died. Nearly 300 homes were destroyed. An investigation concluded that fluid injection
from the oil and gas industry played a role in the catastrophe and unstable ground around
the dam contributed to the failure. B.C.’s Peace Canyon dam is also built near
known fault lines. This is a natural gas industry disposal well
that uses fluid injection. And it’s dangerously close to the Peace Canyon dam — just three kilometres away. But residents of Hudson’s Hope, who live
near this well, were never told that BC Hydro had warned the provincial Oil and Gas Commission
that the well posed a danger to the dam and should be permanently closed. And then there’s concerns at Site C — the
massive, multi-billion dollar dam now under construction downstream from Peace Canyon. In September 2018, these slopes collapsed, causing a major landslide near the Site C dam, destroying a road and knocking a house off its foundation. The more you inject in here the more instability you create, especially with fluids. It is a sedimentary basin and it will move. I’ve repeatedly asked Minister
[of Public Safety Mike] Farnworth to commission an independent group to verify that the Site C is a safe project. And I have been repeatedly ignored. Why? I suspect there’s a problem. But nobody’s addressing it. Just weeks later an earthquake caused a strong jolt at the Site C dam. The earthquake was triggered by a nearby fracking operation and forced the evacuation of workers building the dam. The Oil and Gas Commission later told the company it could continue fracking at the same site, despite the earthquake.

4 thoughts on “When fracking and hydro dams collide

  1. Isn't it awesome to see fracking has prevented California from a major earthquake? Nope it's not coincidence.

  2. Companies that do fracking should put nutrition facts on the chemicals they use to retrieve natural gas since they will end up in the water anyway.

  3. Injection disposal wells need to be shut in. We have had issues with them in Ohio. ODNR has shut in problematic wells, but still new ones were approved. The water from fracking and production can be processed and brought to drinkable standards. Antero has already proved this. The state doesn't have the resolve.

  4. This bloke clearly has no idea what he's talking about. His description of fracking prooves that. Though long term disposal water reinjectionis a problem. Fracking is not.out of the millions of fracked well in the world only three are know to of caused earthquakes. And thats because they were on fault lines. Easy to avoid.

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