From the Aspen Daily News (Brent Gardner-Smith):
It takes about 4 million gallons of water to develop a natural gas well using the technique known as hydraulic fracturing. And the “fracking” process, which is commonly used in Garfield County, also requires that about 6,000 gallons of undisclosed chemicals be injected into a typical well to help break up underground rock formations. Those estimates are from Marianne Lavelle, a senior editor on energy issues for National Geographic Digital Media, who spoke Tuesday at the Aspen Environment Forum.
Lavelle said about 80 percent of the water used in the fracking process stays deep underground. But the rest of the toxic watery mix comes back up to the surface and is often stored in earthen pits lined with black plastic. “It now has not only chemicals, but a lot of salt and a lot of minerals,” Lavelle said of the water, which is called “fracking water” or “produced water” in the gas industry. And Lavelle said it is a big challenge for the industry to dispose of the produced water.