Michigan Has Large Shale Gas Reserves, In The Great Lakes Watershed
USEIA 2010/Public Domain
You don't hear much about fracking in the State of Michigan, even though the extent of its shale gas resource appears to be as larger or larger than Texas.' According to this source, 'The state currently has some 12,000 wells that use the process.'
A surface water issue.
Michigan's shale gas reserve encompasses a large portion of the Great Lakes watershed - unlike any other shale gas basin-containing state. Wastewater from fracking will have to very carefully managed, as Great Lakes are international waters.
Below is a map depicting the Great Lakes watershed. Precipitation and spills to the land surface inside the light green area will move toward the Great Lakes' surface water, via creeks and rivers and groundwater.
USAE, via Wikipedia/Public Domain
Michigan requires water permits only for very large fracking operations, according to the following specifications, as cited by a law firm.
Michigan Fracking Well, Water Regulations Effective June 22, 2011
Michigan's Supervisor of Wells issued new regulations in May 2011, which became effective June 22, 2011. Under the regulations, well completions for high volume hydraulic fracturing must include the Material Safety Data Sheet and the volume used for all additives. High volume hydraulic fracturing is defined as an operation that is intended to use a total of more than 100,000 gallons of hydraulic fracturing fluid.
Additional regulations apply to wells with large volume water withdrawals, defined as withdrawals with a cumulative total of over 100,000 gallons per day. For these wells, permit applications must include: a water withdrawal evaluation (and in some cases a site-specific review by the DEQ); the proposed total volume of water needed; the number of water withdrawal wells; well locations, depths, and proposed pumping rates and frequencies; any freshwater wells within 1,320 feet; and the locations and dimensions of proposed freshwater pits. If there is a freshwater well within 1,320 feet, a monitor well must be installed and monitored daily during water withdrawal, and weekly thereafter. During the withdrawal process, injection pressures must be recorded. Upon well completion, records and charts showing fracturing volume, rates, pressures, and the total volume of flowback water must be included in the record of well completion.
According to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, no current hydraulic fracturing activity in Michigan would qualify as high volume under the proposed regulations. Existing wells, which are located on the Antrim Shale, are shallow and typically use only 50,000 gallons of water in the fracturing process. The regulations were implemented in anticipation of development on the Utica Shale, a deeper formation that would require much larger volumes of water use.
Sierra Club, interestingly, has received criticism for accepting donations from a natural gas interest - the money reportedly to be used to support campaigns against coal interests. Seems practical to me; but; I'm sure activists were taken aback by the news in February 2011 that
Several days ago national Sierra Club’s executive director Michael Brune finally revealed in Time magazine that the organization — one of the biggest and most well known “environmental” groups — took $26 million from gas company Chesapeake Energy’s Aubrey McClendon. The windfall was to be used for Sierra Club’s anti-coal campaign — which includes heavy promotion of the gas industry.I say it is logical and acceptable for Sierra Club to do that because, Cheap Natural Gas [Is] Reshaping Power Generation and Home Heating: Coal Will Take The Loss.
A three for one.
If they really have to frack Michigan, drillers should be made to lug their fracking wastewater over to the neighboring state of Illinois, where the wastewater can then be dumped into the Ship Canal, killing Asian Carp before making it's way to the Mississippi River and on down to the Gulf Coast.
A lot of the fracking chemicals were made in Gulf Coast states and such things are generally of little concern there.
Hey, maybe they will be good as dispersants? Anybody think of that?