LANSING (WWJ/AP) – Michigan has cited an energy company for spilling 300 to 400 gallons of water and brine into the ground on the site of a fracking well in Kalkaska County.
The state Department of Environmental Quality this week issued a violation notice to Encana Oil and Gas Inc. for an incident that occurred July 15. The spill was related to hydraulic fracturing, which releases natural gas trapped in deep underground rock formations.
Canadian-based Encana was cleaning out the well hole to prepare for production testing. But water pumped back to the surface inadvertently leaked from a tank.
The state says there’s no lasting damage to the environment, and Encana quickly and effectively cleaned up the site.
No fine was issued. A message seeking comment was left with Encana on Friday.
Fracking has become a hot political issue in a number of states. It involves pumping huge volumes of water laced with chemicals and sand at high pressure into wells that can extend a mile or more underground. State regulators and industry representatives say the process is environmentally sound, but critics say it can pollute surface and ground water and threaten air and soil quality.
The DEQ says fracking has been used in about 12,000 Michigan wells over the past 50 years without harming the environment. But the industry is stepping up drilling in shale formations deeper than most of those targeted before, requiring greater volumes of water.
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