A Watershed Moment: Fracking and Water Withdrawals

This week’s Watershed Moment features last week’s guests, Kent County Water Conservation co-founders Jeff Wilkinson, Stephanie Mabie, and Brian Keeley. The three of them are back to discuss the issues of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, and water withdrawals.

Kent County Water Preservation is a nonprofit organization focused on preserving water resources and natural habitats in Kent County.

“The interesting thing in the State of Michigan is that you are allowed to drill a water well right on the well pad and take from the water table,” said Mabie.

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality recently approved one corporation to use 30 million gallons of water for natural gas extraction through hydraulic fracturing. During the fracking cycle, the water becomes contaminated with various chemicals and radioactive materials.

“That water can never return to the water cycle, so it has to be put into deep injection wells,” said Mabie.

In regards to water withdrawals, Mabie reported that Lakes Michigan and Huron have hit record lows. Several Michigan counties, including Ottawa County, are now facing water shortages.

“It is an issue that is occurring across the state, and it needs to be looked at responsibly,” said Mabie.

To listen to the episode, click here or use the player at the top of the post.

A Watershed Moment” is a weekly radio program focused on environmental news and happenings in West Michigan, plus solutions for living a greener life. Broadcast on WYCE-FM 88.1 on Mondays at 8:30 a.m, and Thursdays and Sundays at 5:30pm, this program is produced by Grand Rapids Community Media Center and West Michigan Environmental Action Council.

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