Alberta research shows fracking fluids cause ‘significant’ harm to fish, Can harm fish even at low concentrations. Chemicals caused premature aging in gills, organs

Alberta research shows fracking fluids cause significant harm to fish by Hamilton Spectator, January 24, 2017

Research has found that liquids used to frack oil and gas wells can harm fish.

A newly published paper by University of Alberta scientists concludes the water that flows from such wells causes significant damage.

The study says chemicals damage the gills and liver of fish and disrupt the endocrine system, which controls the flow of hormones. … The research is published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology. [Emphasis added]

Alberta research shows fracking fluids cause ’significant’ harm to fish by Bob Weber, January 24, 2017, Calgary Herald

EDMONTON — Research has found that liquids released from fracked oil and gas wells can harm fish even at low concentrations.

“When we put these frack fluids in, the fluids themselves generate chemicals that have detrimental biological effects,” said University of Alberta biologist Greg Goss.

It’s long been known that chemicals used in fracking — which uses fluids under high pressure to fracture rock formations and release oil and gas — are environmentally toxic. Goss and his colleagues conducted a study intended to consider how toxic they are by using water that flowed from an actual fracked well.

“The real risk comes from the disposal process, where (companies) have to truck it to a new site or pipeline it to a new site,” Goss said Tuesday. “If we do have a spill, what are the concerns they have to worry about?”

His paper notes that Alberta has experienced more than 2,500 such spills between 2011 and 2014.

The researchers exposed rainbow trout to “sub-lethal” levels of such fluids. The levels were intended to simulate exposure fish or other organisms would be subject to from a pipeline leak or a spill near a water body.

Even at dilutions as low as 2.5 per cent — 2.5 litres of process water to 100 litres of fresh water — fish showed significant impact on their livers and gills.

Goss calls the effect “oxidative stress.” That means chemicals in the water force liver and gill cells to age and die more quickly.

“Oxidative stress is associated with damage to membranes,” he said.

Some chemicals in the water, which have been shown to cause hormone disruptions in other studies, were absorbed by the fish.

“There are endocrine-disrupting effects potentially involved in some of the chemicals involved in that,” Goss said.

“There’s the potential that some of the fluids may be similar in the effects that you would see from municipal waste water, where you might see feminization of animals.”

The effects were amplified by the presence of sediment in the water.

Goss said that could mean that organisms on lake bottoms or riverbeds could be more at risk than fish.

Filtering sediments out might be a way for industry to reduce the toxicity of its process water before it gets transported, he suggested.

The study points out that its tests were conducted on water from one specific well operated by Encana. The precise composition of fracking fluids varies from company to company — and even from well to well — and is a closely guarded commercial secret. [To prevent proving that frac’ing contaminates drinking water supplies and or surface water and land?]

Goss said fluids used in the tests were common enough for the results to be widely applicable.

The next step, he said, is to figure out exactly how the chemicals damage livers and gills, as well as to further examine how they disrupt the endocrine system. [Emphasis added. Study study study with more and more money from Encana and us taxpayers, while the industry and its enabling regulators increasingly poison drinking water, surface water, land, air, families, livestock and communities. After we’re all poisoned and studied ad nauseum, Encana controlled researchers will publish a paper concluding that frac’ing is poisoning us.]

Alberta research shows fracking fluids cause ‘significant’ harm to fish, Chemicals caused premature aging in gills, organs (article same as above) by Bob Weber, January 24, 2017, The Canadian Press in CBC News

Fracking fluids have ‘significant negative effects’ on rainbow trout, say U of A researchers by Juris Graney, January 24, 2017, Edmonton Journal

Non-lethal doses of fluids produced by hydraulic fracturing have been found to cause liver and gill damage in rainbow trout, a team of researchers at the University of Alberta say.

The fluids, which can contain high levels of metals such as barium, cadmium and lead, along with organic compounds, can also create oxidative stress in rainbow trout, long considered the “white rat” of environmental biology.

Oxidative stress is associated with long-term biological damage.

The study is the first to use actual samples supplied from the industry, said co-project lead Greg Goss, a professor in the University of Alberta’s Department of Biological Sciences.

“Everybody knows it’s not honey water, it’s an industrial effluent,” he said.

Canada’s largest natural gas producer, Encana, supplied the samples but had no further input in the research, Goss said, adding that their research will help industry improve its environmental performance, practices and risk management in the case of a spill.


2016 03 30: Another Encana Frac Fraud Bribe?

Assistant professor of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences Daniel Alessi has received $2 million in funding from the government of Canada and Encana to closely study the effects of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, on water.

This funding adds to $3 million Alessi received as Encana Chair in Water Resources at the U of A for project work.


There were more than 2,500 accidental fluid spills in Alberta between 2011 and 2014, the study stated.

“The end goal is to understand the effects of the spills, should they occur, on native aquatic animals,” Goss said.

“This will help in both environmental policy, water treatment options for on-site water management and improved mitigation policy and programs.”

Goss was cognizant environmental groups will jump on this research as further evidence that fracking should be banned or that industry may push for fewer regulations. But he doesn’t believe either side should jump to conclusions. [So then why is he jumping to conclusions? His paycheck from Encana?]

“I’m a big believer that you can have industrial activity that’s good environmental management and that the trade-offs are being adequately managed,” he said.

[Trade-off Management Reality Check:

Like the Encana illegally fracturing a community’s drinking water aquifers in secret, and then lying about it afterwards? Like the regulators engaging in fraud covering up Encana’s law violations and drinking water pollution? Like forcing innocent families to live in explosive risk in their homes from Encana’s law violations and pollution?  Like Encana swapping out of their frac fluids the toxics chemicals, but not disclosing what they are to the many families exposed to them when Encana was using them (refer below), including in response to Justice Wittmann’s Order to Encana to disclose all important and relevant documents for the Ernst lawsuit? That’s some “adequate management.”]

“Hydraulic fracturing is a process that’s got tremendous economic and social benefits in terms of its provision of relatively inexpensive energy. [Except fracturing is uneconomic and uses more energy than it produces, never mind the massive amounts of drinking water it pollutes and is permanently lost to the hydrogeological cycle]

“I don’t believe it should be banned. I think what we need to do is have both an improved environmental practice [Voluntary and Unenforceable] and a firm awareness of the understanding of the impacts where you can make those value judgments.” [What does that mean?]

[Reality Check:

Image by FrackingCanada: How the West was Lost (large page, takes time to load)

End Reality Check]

The other co-leads on the study were Daniel Alessi in the faculty of science and Jon Martin in the faculty of medicine and dentistry. [Emphasis added]

[Refer also to:

2016 03 30: Another Encana Frac Fraud Bribe?

Assistant professor of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences Daniel Alessi has received $2 million in funding from the government of Canada and Encana to closely study the effects of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, on water.

This funding adds to $3 million Alessi received as Encana Chair in Water Resources at the U of A for project work.

2016 03 16: Is Encana’s “Responsible Drilling Program” a fraud? ‘Fracking Scorecard’ ranks 30 oil companies by disclosure of environmental risks, As expected, Encana ranks down low

2013 09 13: Evidence Presented by Encana to 41st PARLIAMENT, 1st SESSION Standing Committee Natural Resources; Encana taking step to stop frac’ing with benzene, diesel, chromium, arsenic, mercury etc

At Encana we’re proud—having implemented this practice—of taking the step to eliminate the use of diesel, benzene, and heavy metals, such as cadmium, arsenic, chromium, lead, and mercury in our hydraulic fracturing fluids.

2013 02 12: Encana EVIDENCE to Parliamentary Committee February 12, 2013

Encana VP Richard Dunn: “To be honest with you, I don’t understand what we swapped in, but I do understand what we swapped out, and that’s really the beauty of it all.”

Encana also refused to heed the Alberta Rules of Court. As of today, January 25, 2017, Encana still has not yet disclosed to Ernst, as ordered by Chief Justice Neil Wittmann with a December 19, 2014 deadline, all chemicals the company injected into fresh water zones at Rosebud, including illegally into the community’s drinking water aquifers]

This entry was posted in Global Frac News. Bookmark the permalink.