Hydraulic fracturing (hydro-fracking) is credited as being first employed by Halliburton in 1948. The process injects a mixture of chemical additives, proppants (particles, like sand or ceramic), and water under high pressure into a target oil or gas zone in order to facilitate the flow of the gas or oil back to the surface for recovery.
Fracking was used between 1948 and 2002 to complete vertical wells in moderately shallow formations; these operations were relatively modest and required only 75,000 gallons of water in both the drilling and fracturing stages.
What is referred to as High Volume, slick-water, multi-stage, Hydraulic Fracturing and horizontal drilling (HVHF) was introduced in 2002.
After the industry was granted exemptions from all important and relevant federal environmental laws and health regulations in July 2005 (exemptions commonly referred to as the Halliburton loophole) this process became standard practice. It enabled the industry to use a mix of highly toxic chemicals including endocrine disruptors and volatile organic compounds in order to rapidly and successfully extract hard to access gas and oil from shale layers and other rock thousands of feet below the surface.
From 1999 to 2007, the Hydraulic Fracturing market expanded from just under 3 billion USD to 12.8 billion USD.
In 2009, the EPA and internal studies from natural gas companies themselves found that wastewater from this process contains levels of radioactivity and carcinogenic properties that are above the level that treatment plants are currently equipped to handle.
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