W.F. Beal: Unfounded fear

January 19, 2014 

In the Jan. 14 letter “Water nightmares,” the letter-writer theorizes threats to the Jordan Lake water quality arising from a tractor-trailer load of “fracking fluids” entering the lake from a traffic accident, and he likened the outcome to the recent Charleston, W.Va., incident.

One’s thinking about threats should be tempered by facts about “fracking fluids” and the math related to their possible introduction into Jordan Lake.

When injected into a gas well, fracking fluids are over 99 percent water, and the great majority of the remainder is composed of chemicals of an ordinary household nature: Clorox and guar gum (the edible substance found in chewing gum and ice cream).

A 9,000-gallon tanker thus holds 90 gallons of liquids other than water. Jordan Lake has a water volume of 45,800 acre-feet, translating to 14,924,067,400 gallons.

It’s mighty difficult to imagine an environmental disaster arising from the introduction of 90 gallons of Clorox and guar gum into Jordan Lake. Besides, tank trucks carrying far more concentrated liquids such as gasoline, diesel fuel and industrial chemicals cross the lake on U.S. 64 every day. Should we ban all tankers from U.S. 64? What about banning tankers from I-85, since it crosses Falls Lake?

W.F. Beal III

Raleigh

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