Impact of Hydraulic Fracturing Project on Environment Public Health

Brief about Hydraulic fracturing Project

Hydraulic fracturing is also known as hydro-fracturing and fraccing. This is a well known technique of fracturing the rock. Using this technique, rock is fractured through a hydraulically pressurized, that is a kind of liquid made of water, sand, and chemicals. In this process, a high pressure fluid is injected into the rock to create cracks (Decoo and Colpaert, 2002). This liquid, removes the natural gas petroleum so that the rock can be broken. In other words, Hydraulic fracturing is a method which enables drilling engineers to improve the unstable flow from rocks in the submarine. This method consists of pumping Water- rich liquid into a borehole until the rocks are fractured. This liquid contains proppant (mixture of gases) and chemical additives such as acid that helps in fracturing the rocks (Ewusi-Mensah, 2003).

Project management is crucial for business entities as it is directly associated with the success of a project. In order to conduct the activities of a project in well suitable manner, it is important to assess the risk and uncertainties involved in that project. Further, the important aspects need to be addressed by the project managers (Balcerak, 2012). The report herewith, presents analysis of environmental & sustainability issues related to a Hydraulic Fracturing project. For this report, the case of international energy company ‘Energy-Corp’ is taken into account. The organization wants to undertake an initial high level review of a potential Hydraulic Fracturing Project. Adding to this, the study presents the potential issues regarding to the health & safety for which UK is selected as geographical location. The potential issues such as proximity to urban areas, water supplies, agricultural land are somewhere focused. The present study addresses the risk involved in the entire project. Overall, it develops the understanding regarding the initial reviews of a sensitive Project as Hydraulic Fracturing.

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This is the new drilling technology in the field of energy and construction industry which allows cheaper drilling for gas and oil. However, inspite of its cost effectiveness there is still a presence of many health and environmental implications. It has been evaluated that the project of Hydraulic fracturing affects the natural gas shale-drilling life- cycle. The International energy company ‘Energy-Corp’ is going to undertake a potential Hydraulic Fracturing project for which they want to have initial reviews regarding health & safety, environmental & sustainability issues as well as potential risk (Burnett, 2013). It has been asssed that the project involves high level of risk and issues related to health and safety of employees involved in the project and the people live nearby to the project places. Moreover, the environmental impacts of such project are too high that needs to be taken into account. The organization dealing in the field of energy are injected to identify the ground solutions for such issues.

Health & Safety Issues

The number of health-effects has been seen throughout the previous project of Hydraulic fracturing. The process involves the use of chemicals that are harmful to the human health (Hydraulic Fracturing, 2015). It has been witnessed that there is number of chemical gases which come out during the process of Hydraulic fracturing that negatively affects the health of people (Burnett, 2013). However, number of precautions is taken by the previous project holders but the impact of such gases is somewhere seen in the practical ground. The recent evidence indicates the potential risks to public health from emission of natural gases during the project. This clearly shows the need to work on the risk factors so as to reduce the hazardous impacts on public life. The negative impact can be eliminated and issue can be overcome if operations are properly run and regulated (Daneshy, 2003). During the project, company has to go through the Shale gas extraction process that is dangerous to the health of employees working on the project. The emission of such gas causes skin or other kind of diseases that can get worse to the heath in longer duration.

‘Energy-Corp’ is going to work upon a Hydraulic fracturing project therefore; it needs to take care of health and safety issues. In case of any employee comes into contact with a harmful chemical then the situation becomes worse (Burnett, 2013). The diseases caused by an exposure include smog and asthma which causes senses disabilities and so on. At the time of hydro-fracturing process, many of chemicals spills into the water and enters into drinking substance through which human beings come into direct skin contact with the chemicals or wastes, that impacts their health negatively (Ewusi-Mensah, 2003). The workers involved in the project can be directly affected by such chemicals. These may enter in the human body while breathing. The study conducted by PSR (2015) has provided the evidence of health effect from chemicals used to drill and fracture natural gas in United Kingdom.

As earlier stated, that Hydraulic fracturing is a natural gas extraction process that provides negative impact on the human health. The process is responsible for making climate changes which lead to negative impacts on the human body (Fink, 2013). The organization needs to take care of negative consequences for human health at the time of project. The fracturing process of natural gas extraction effects health of human beings. The chemicals used in Hydraulic fracturing inject deep underground and contaminate surface of the water. Some gases having ability to create air emissions such as VOCs are life threatening to humans. The workers and residents are victimised to the harmful impacts.

Hence, it can be critically analysed than on sensing the intensity of these issues, “Energy-Corp” needs to be concerned about examining the health impacts of hydraulic fracturing. This is an important task for project manager, who is working on the projects, to ascertain the health and safety issues related to Hydraulic fracturing (Gurstelle, 2009). In this regard, it is in the hands of the project department to take care about the safety of people who are working upon the project. Company should provide them with all the major equipment that is essential to protect their health from negative consequences of emission of gases. Adding to this, the project concerns to the issue of high-volume hydraulic fracturing in which the harmful gas “Shale” produced into the environment.

The medical community of UK has identified the issue concerning to the health because of chronic affects that are to be considered by the company. They must gather all the resources that are essential to prevent such health issues. The workers are to be provided with the resources as well as knowledge for protecting their health (Holloway and Rudd, 2013). Prior to this, management of “Energy-Corp” needs to provide training to its employees in the field of health and safety. They have to develop the effective policies that serve the safety of workers at the project field in case of any accident. Adding to this, they should be communicated and public health education should be provided to individuals as well as to the entire project team. Location of the project is most crucial aspect that is concern with the safety of residences of the country (Gurstelle, 2009) For Hydraulic fracturing project; location must be the place which is far from the residential area so the risk of negative health issues can be reduced.

Environmental & Sustainability Issues

Throughout the process of Hydraulic fracturing, environmental impact can be seen to the water consumption and use of land. There are number of environmental issue such as noise pollution, water contamination, air emission, air pollution associated to hydraulic fracturing. From which air and water pollution has major impact to the environment. The organization is going to work on a Hydraulic fracturing so that it has to be conscious towards the care for society as well as environment. In many cases, it has been seen that the hydraulic fracturing leads to affect environment and local wildlife (Kendrick, 2009). In the process of fracturing many of harmful gases' comes into existence that may negatively impact the environment. The government of UK has introduced number of regulation to the energy companies for the use of Hydraulic fracturing technique that are to be considered by the organization before working upon the project. During the fracking process the use of toxic chemicals is crucial that is dangerous to the environment. In case the project team uses the toxic chemicals it will generate radioactive materials that may lead to harm the natural environment. The negative impact of toxic chemicals is the primary environmental impact of Hydraulic fracturing. During the process oil and gas comes out from the area which contains chemical additive that causes harmful impacts to the environment. On the other side, the process contains water usage which is natural resources (King, 2012).

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Many times, it has been seen that the drilling project includes wastage of scare resources such as water; this issue is associated to the “Energy-Corp”. The usage of water in hydraulic fracturing project many be a problem in the area of water shortage. Adding to this, contamination of water is another issue associated with environmental issues. The process leads to pollution of surface water as many harmful gases are mixed in the water and can pollute the environment. The fluid used in the process can lead to environmental pollution in water and air (Lave, and Lutz, 2014). Many times, the problem of noise pollution can negatively impact the environment. The organization needs to take all the issue into account and should work accordingly. Further, it has been seen that the Methane which is the most harmful gas to the environment. Leakage of Methane is the most concerned issue to the environment that is needs to be taken into account by the organization during working on the project. In many studies, it has been identified that Fluid disposal often leads to water pollution and wastages of scare resources (Luecke, 2004).

This activity is also responsible for earthquakes in many stages. United Kingdom has been chosen as the potential location for the project where the climate is changed from other countries. European Union has produced the report on potential risks that are associated with methane emissions, diesel fumes and other hazardous. According to this report, the process leads to harm the ozone layer (PSR, 2015). Adding to that, hydraulic fracturing and escaped gases leads to water pose air emissions risks to the environment. UK government has proposed policies relating to minimise the release of gases (Schultz, 2012). The organizations are provided with licence only on this condition. In order to work upon the project “Energy-Corp” should address the above mentioned environmental issues. The statistic of Strategic Environmental Assessment indicated that UK has 0.16% of land area that can be used as Hydraulic fracturing. Further, the mature gases have impacted about 2% of the land area that is major environmental issue associated with the project. The process contains diesel pollution and noise pollution as the fracturing process continues for 24-7. Further, the stress factor affects the quality of life through environmental pollution in the areas where Hydraulic fracturing drilling occurs. In most of the cases, the process leads to climate change (Simon, 2014). The most harmful gas Methane that comes out during the process of hydraulic fracturing is more powerful to capture heat in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide. In this manner, it may lead to change the climate of area in which the process is to be completed. The company should use the equipment and methods that leads to reduce the harmful impacts from the environment. Adding to this, project managers ascertain the actual risk from environment.

Potential Risks

There are number of potential risks which have been identified in the area where hydraulic fracturing is to be taken place. Beside health and environmental concerns operational failure has been identified as the major risk concerning to the process. In order to complete the task, business entities should have qualified employees that are having experience on the Hydraulic fracturing project (Spellman, 2013). The company needs to choose the employees while taking account the specific skills which is needed to them. Adding to this, poor management of site is also the potential risk to the project. In case of poor management, the success of project cannot be ensured. For completing the project and to minimize the risk, proper use of hydraulic fracturing fluid is essential. Adding to this, conflict between the executive management is also the associated risk to the project (Ewusi-Mensah, 2003). The lack of knowledge to the specific chemicals is the potential risk related to present project. In case the project team is not aware with the consequences of use of specific chemical then, they can harm themselves or the society. In this regard, the organization needs to develop the risk management policies and should provide the knowledge regarding the health effects of using chemicals. The reports presented by UK regulatory firm has defined the guidelines in which the drilling sites identify the problems around hydraulic fracturing and helps in reducing the risk on the sites (King, 2012). The number of occurrence of accidents has been emerged in the project sides. It can be assessed that the project management company is thus required to minimize the risk that covers issues related to groundwater contamination, seismic risk, gas leakages, water pollution, well integrity, environmental risks, etc.

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The report was based upon identifying the risk associated with the Hydraulic Fracturing project. The research areas focused towards health & safety issues, environmental & Sustainability issues as well as potential risk. The report concluded that, the processes Hydraulic Fracturing process is having potential impacts to the environment as well as public health and organization needs to concern about handing the issues in a well optimised manner. Throughout the report, it was found that the increasing numbers of drilling sites have proposed risks such as accidents and exposure to harmful gases. The company is suggested to use the techniques that can minimize the risk and harmful impacts of Hydraulic Fracturing project to the environment as well as society. Adding to this, Energy-Corp needs to adopt the approaches of identifying risks before working upon the project. Hence, it can be said that the risk associated with hydraulic fracturing is controllable through effective regulation and best operational practices.


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  • Burnett, J., 2013. Hydraulic fracturing and U.S. water policy abstract. AGH Drilling, Oil, Gas.
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  • Decoo, W. and Colpaert, J., 2002. Crisis on campus. Cambridge: MIT Press.
  • Denney, D., 2008. Hydraulic Fracturing: Internal Breakers for Viscoelastic-Surfactant Fracturing Fluids. Journal of Petroleum Technology.
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  • Gurstelle, W., 2009. Absinthe & flamethrowers. Chicago Review Press.
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