How Does Fracking Work?

By
Andrew Fowler

Dateline
Updated Fri, Feb 24, 2012 2:09 pm

We all know that fracking is a hot-button issue in Athens and around the region.

But, do we actually know what fracking is or how it works?

In a remote area of Monroe County, farmers Mike and Ruth Partin want to know the answers to those questions.

They bought their land when they moved to Southeast Ohio from San Diego.

"We've owned it for about 13 years now and we came out here because of the country and the animals in the country," says Ruth Partin.

The Partins live near several neighbors who have decided to lease their lands to fracking companies and they are concerned.

"God created this world and it's beautiful all around us, and the damage that follows the gas and oil is substantial and to me that's not being good stewards of our earth," says Mike Partin.

"Fracking, basically, is a method of getting at natural gas, which is very deep underground," says Ohio University Geography Professor Geoff Buckley.

"In the last 100 plus years that we've had oil and gas development in Ohio, we have only extracted about 10 percent of what is available. So this is giving producers access to the other 90 percent of that resource," says Rural Action's Susi Rankis.

Hydraulic fracturing involves drilling thousands of feet in two different directions. A combination of water and different chemicals breaks down a layer of the earth.

The drilling is at first vertical but then can spread out and tap into reserves by going horizontally underneath the shale layer.

Experts say the natural gas extracted during the fracking process can be a more efficient alternative source of energy for heating homes.

Fracking is most popular with supporters because of the promise of economic gain for the region.

While the Partins haven't felt too many effects of fracking, one thing they are concerned about in the future is that the water from a stream near their farm, will be contaminated.

Another concern the Partins have is air quality.  They are worried the air will be polluted.

Buckley says more research needs to be done about the long-term effects of fracking.

"Companies that employ this method have not had to disclose what chemicals they actually use and that's made detecting what these contaminants are a bit more difficult," says Buckley. "So, I'd say that's one of the big concerns. We don't know what some of the long-term effects are going to be, but we seem to be moving very quickly in the direction of doing this in our region."
 

Slideshow: Pictures Of Fracking

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Ty Wright

Pictures were taken in Glenville, West Virginia for a documentary about Marcelles Shale Fracking

Ty Wright

Pictures were taken in Glenville, West Virginia for a documentary about Marcelles Shale Fracking

Ty Wright

Pictures were taken in Glenville, West Virginia for a documentary about Marcelles Shale Fracking

Ty Wright

Pictures were taken in Glenville, West Virginia for a documentary about Marcelles Shale Fracking

Ty Wright

Pictures were taken in Glenville, West Virginia for a documentary about Marcelles Shale Fracking

Ty Wright

Pictures were taken in Glenville, West Virginia for a documentary about Marcelles Shale Fracking

Ty Wright

Pictures were taken in Glenville, West Virginia for a documentary about Marcelles Shale Fracking

Ty Wright

Pictures were taken in Glenville, West Virginia for a documentary about Marcelles Shale Fracking

Ty Wright

Pictures were taken in Glenville, West Virginia for a documentary about Marcelles Shale Fracking

Ty Wright

Pictures were taken in Glenville, West Virginia for a documentary about Marcelles Shale Fracking

Ty Wright

Pictures were taken in Glenville, West Virginia for a documentary about Marcelles Shale Fracking

Ty Wright

Pictures were taken in Glenville, West Virginia for a documentary about Marcelles Shale Fracking

Ty Wright

Pictures were taken in Glenville, West Virginia for a documentary about Marcelles Shale Fracking

Ty Wright

Pictures were taken in Glenville, West Virginia for a documentary about Marcelles Shale Fracking

Ty Wright

Pictures were taken in Glenville, West Virginia for a documentary about Marcelles Shale Fracking

Ty Wright

Pictures were taken in Glenville, West Virginia for a documentary about Marcelles Shale Fracking

Ty Wright

Pictures were taken in Glenville, West Virginia for a documentary about Marcelles Shale Fracking

Ty Wright

Pictures were taken in Glenville, West Virginia for a documentary about Marcelles Shale Fracking

Ty Wright

Pictures were taken in Glenville, West Virginia for a documentary about Marcelles Shale Fracking

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