How and where do drillers dispose of waste hydraulic fracturing fluid?

Most of the water and additives used in hydraulic fracturing (or “fracking”) remain deep underground in the geologic formation from which the oil or gas is being extracted. But some of the fluid, mixed with water or brine from the formation, returns through the well to the surface and is referred to as “produced water”. After a well is brought on-line, large volumes of produced water (primarily composed of the injected fluid) are generated.

Produced water is often disposed of by injecting it into deep geologic formations via wells that are specifically designed for that purpose. In some cases, produced water can be treated and reused to hydraulically fracture another well. In other cases, the water is clean enough to meet regulatory standards and is discharged into local watersheds. Practices vary between regions, depending on regulations, geologic conditions, and water availability. 

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Can hydraulic fracturing impact the quality of groundwater or surface water?

Conducted properly, hydraulic fracturing (or “fracking”) has little possibility of contaminating water supplies. Properly constructed wells prevent drilling fluids, hydraulic fracturing fluids, deep saline formation waters, or oil and gas from entering aquifers. Carefully constructed and operated well sites have the ability to contain potential...

Are other countries using hydraulic fracturing for oil and gas extraction?

Yes, hydraulic fracturing is being used extensively in Canada and is increasingly being used in countries in Asia, Europe, and South America.