The reason most people are fearful of the high volume hydrofracking technique creating environmental problems is that it is well known that chemical additives to the water may be hazardous when highly concentrated. The industry has heightened the individual concerns by refusing to disclose their proprietary concoctions of chemicals added to the water. The DSGEIS has addressed these concerns and has offered solutions and mitigations.
THE CHEMICAL ADDITIVES
90+% of hydrofracking fluid is water according to the DSGEIS. Approximately 9% of the volume is propant (usually sand). The remaining <1% are chemicals designed to help in removing the fluid and gas from the well after the hydrofracking event occurs. These chemicals have generic categories including biosides, acid, corrosion inhibitor, friction reducer, gelling agent, iron control, scale inhibitor and surfactant.
Operators must now disclose all additive products used to supply the Material Safety Data Sheet for those products so that appropriate remediation measures can be imposed if a spill does occur. The DEC will publicly disclose information about the additive products, except information that meets the level of a “trade secret” which information the DEC will still be provided with, but will keep in the separate, secure site available to the DEC personnel in case a spill occurs. This site will meet the DEC’s confidential business information exception to the DEC records access program. The availability of this information, in the event of a spill, to DEC personnel, could provide both emergency and remedial assistance to any landowner adversely affected by hydrofracking fluid contamination.