Frac sand mining, transportation and handling has caused significant ecological and health impacts for workers and communities living in the U.S. The industry chews up the countryside with open cast mines, contaminates water with run off, clogs roads with HGV traffic and pollutes the air with dangerous silica dust.
UK Frac Sand Threat
If fracking gets started in the UK, sand mining is likely to become a major threat. Areas at risk are in Cheshire, East Anglia & Scotland as the right kind of silica is deposited there. Use these Frac Sand Flyers for raising awareness about Frac Sand where you live.
DNR to study possible link between frac sand mines, contaminated groundwater (Wisconsin State Journal, October 2016) Water samples from some frac sand mine ponds, containing water used by companies to wash frac sand, shows concentrations of metals many times higher than state groundwater standards, with aluminum concentrations 178 times higher and lead and manganese levels four times higher, prompting fears that it may be leaching into and contaminating groundwater
Companies Mining Sand for Oil and Gas Threaten Midwest Fields, and Farmers Are Fighting Back (Natural Resources Defense Council, July 2016) A group of Illinois farmers are fighting to save their agricultural community from frac sand mining, which involves stripping away layers of fertile topsoil, blasting with explosives to loosen the sand deposits, clouds of carcinogenic silica dust, constant noisy truck traffic and dwindling groundwater supplies (an individual mine can use to two million gallons of water a day), leaving behind a patchwork landscape scarred by open pits
The Sand Mines That Ruin Farmland (New York Times, May 2016) A less well-known effect of fracking is the destruction of large areas of Midwestern farmland to extract frac sand and the mines are destroying rural communities in the process, homesteads and small towns are being battered by mine blasting, hundreds of diesel trucks speed down rural roads dropping sand along the way and flood lit 24-hour operations are driving some farmers away, while for those determined to stay, life is changed forever
DNR To Study If Frac Sand Mining Contaminates Groundwater (Wisconsin Public Radio, April 2016) The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is planning a study to see if frac sand mining is causing heavy metals to leach into the state’s groundwater, following sampling showing water used to wash frac sand at 13 mines in western Wisconsin in 2013 contains aluminum, copper, arsenic and lead at elevated levels
Study: Air Near Frac Sand Mines Has More Harmful Particles (Wisconsin Public Radio, December 2015) A University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire study investigating air quality near frac sand mines found higher levels of harmful, microscopic particles 2.5 microns in size in the air near active mining sites, with 5 out of 6 sites above the Environmental Protection Agency 12-micrograms-per-cubic-meter standard
Wisconsin locals fear dust from mines for fracking sand even as boom wanes (Al Jazeera, November 2015) Five years ago, you could count the number of frac sand mines in Wisconsin on one hand but today there are 129, the majority concentrated in just a few counties near the city of Eau Claire, where residents point to the mines — many of which have the mountainous piles of sand sitting in the open — as the source of silica dust, a carcinogen and cause of incurable lung disease silicosis, that has lead to their respiratory problems
Fracking sand in oilfields stirs up a serious health risk for workers (Denver Post, November 2014) Health concerns about oil field fracking have focused on high levels of fine quartz sand around fracking operations which could pose a serious danger to workers, leading to silicosis and other lung illnesses, after researchers measured silica-dust levels during 11 fracking operations in five states that exceeded occupational health exposure limits, some exceeded limits by 10 or more times
Report: Frac sand mines committed environmental violations, ethical issues (Chippewa Herald, November 2014) As the number of frac sand facilities in Wisconsin increased more than tenfold within the last four years, growing from 10 in 2010 to 135 in 2014, more than half the companies involved have violated Department of Natural Resources regulations, manipulated local governments or engaged in “influence peddling and conflicts of interest,” a study has found
The Mines That Fracking Built (Truth Out, May 2013) 70 active mines now operating in Wisconsin, producing “frack sand,” a carcinogenic silica dust which is a key ingredient in the hydraulic fracking process
Sand Land: Fracking Industry Mining Iowa’s Iconic Sand Bluffs in New Form of Mountaintop Removal (DeSmog Blog, April 2013) To extract the frac sand, mining corporations have adopted a method of newfangled mountaintop removal of sorts, blasting away entire hills
Like Working in a Refinery: Fracking’s New Chemical Hazards for Workers (State Impact, July 2012) In air samples taken at a fracking site in the Eagle Ford Shale, investigators found silica dust levels, which can cause silicosis, an incurable lung disease, and increases the risk of lung cancer, up to 10 times the safe limit, a dangerous level even when workers wear masks
Tiny Minnesota City Draws a Line in the Frac Sand Boom (Inside Climate News, November 2011) U.S. frac sand industry has ballooned from a dozen or so mines to hundreds in order to support growing demand but prior to this silica dust exposure already killed hundreds of industrial sand workers a year