Hydraulic fracturing is often looked down upon due to its possible environmental issues. There is no denying that fracking requires an enormous amount of water, but compared to many other industries the water utilized is rather minimal. According to Hydrogeologist David Yoxtheimer of Penn State’s Marcellus Center for Outreach and Research, fracking and other natural gas developments use a very small percent of the state’s water. Out of the water used daily in Pennsylvania in 2013, fracking used 1.9 million gallons a day (mgd), livestock used 62 mgd, mining used 96 mgd, and industry used 770 mgd. There are better places to be focusing on water usage other than fracking. Environmental engineering professor Jeanne VanBriesen notes that much of the water that fracking is using is just replacing dying industries such as steel and manufacturing in Pennsylvania. This means that no more water is actually being used; it is just transferring from one industry to another (Mcgraw). Fracking does not use as much water as many people think, and will only become cleaner and more effective as the years pass. As the diagrams below show, fracking actually uses less water than most drilling techniques, which in the long run could benefit the environment and natural gas is more efficient than coal.
Hydraulic fracturing is not a perfect process. It is a relatively young technique of drilling and needs time to be improved. People are afraid that methane leaks from the drill site and hurts the environment. Industry officials are willing to admit that one to three percent of the methane leaks during the process, but that methane is not necessarily detrimental to the environment. Even though there has been a huge increase in natural gas production across the United States, the amount of methane (CH4) spilled has actually decreased with the use of fracking as the figure below shows. This is because the older methods of drilling allow more methane to leak than fracking does. Industry officials are confident that these leaks can be prevented by aggressively sealing condensers, pipelines, and wellheads Also, the chemicals and water techniques used will continue to progress to be safer and better for the environment. The technique will become safer, cleaner, and more effective by advancing the technology even further (McGraw).