Investigating the traffic-related environmental impacts of hydraulic-fracturing (fracking) operations (13 page pdf, Paul S. Goodman, Fabio Galatioto, Neil Thorpe, Anil K. Namdeo, Richard J. Davies, Roger N. Bird, Environment International, Feb. 1, 2016)
Today we review an aspect of fracking, not often investigated: the impact of local fracking wells which is a combination of the air pollution emissions from the fracking itself and the removal of waste water by tanker trucks which adds vehicle emissions and noise. There is a requirement for 9,000 to 29,000 cubic metres per well, or 54,000 to 174,000 cubic metres for a six-well pad. Total CO2 emissions associated with extraction of shale gas from a well were small (0.2–2.9%) compared to the combustion of the gas from the well. Modelling of NOx emissions showed increases reaching 30% over non-fracking periods and noise levels doubling.
“relatively high population densities in many countries and the potential negative environmental impacts that may be associated with fracking operations has stimulated …significant public debate regarding if and where fracking should be permitted. Road traffic generated by fracking operations is one possible source of environmental impact whose significance has, until now, been largely neglected in the available literature.”
“the local impacts of a single well pad may be short duration but large magnitude… whilst single digit percentile increases in emissions of CO2, NOx and PM are estimated for the period from start of construction to pad completion.. excess emissions of NOx on individual days of peak activity can reach 30% over baseline”
“A production well pad could include 12 or more wells, which may be re-fracked several times, once production has declined. It subsequently becomes necessary to remove flowback water from those sites both during and after fracturing. If this transportation is done by road, as has typically been the case in the US and Canada, then considerable volumes of HDV (i.e. tanker) traffic may be generated, albeit for relatively short periods (i.e. weeks) of time.
"The production of CO2 from traffic emissions due to shale gas exploitation has been previously examined …with on-road emissions estimated at 38 t–59 t CO2 per well… total CO2 emissions associated with extraction of shale gas from a well were small (0.2–2.9%) compared to total emissions from combustion of the gas produced by the well”
“each stage of a fracking operation for a single well will require between 1100 and 2200 m3 of water, leading to a total demand of 9000 to 29000 m3 per well, or 54,000 to 174,000 m3 for a six-well pad.”
“Total daily NOx emissions increase by 18%–20% (low scenario), and 27%–30% (high scenario) depending on access policy…the best policy for diurnal total emissions is overnight access, which creates negligible conflict with baseline traffic, though the relative emissions in the overnight period increase by a factor of 2–2.6.”
"Modelling of NOx emissions showed increases reaching 30% over non-fracking periods and noise levels doubling (+3.4 dBA), dependent on access policy implemented to the site, potentially exacerbating existing environmental issues.”