Fracking involves releasing gas from shale kilometers below the surface. To do this, water containing potential hazardous substances is used under high pressure.
What is the connection? CANSA aims to help protect Karoo drinking water from pollution with carcinogens which are unfortunately involved in the fracking process – analysing baseline water so that if pollution does occur before and after, data could be used as evidence in court and be a deterrent against pollution.
CANSA & Fracking Project
- If drinking water and the environment are contaminated with carcinogens this is a matter for a court of law to decide on fair compensation.
- CANSA is concerned about reducing the cancer risk – it’s not simply to protect farmers’ land.
- The court will require BEFORE (Baseline) and AFTER (Pollution) data on the quality of the water to make a decision.
- Drinking water from a well must be tested BEFORE fracking as a chemical insurance policy.
- CANSA has researched the baseline of Karoo water as a proof of concept.
Read the Media Release from the Cancer Association of South Africa (CANSA) and Treasure Karoo Action Group, CANSA and Fracking, dated 21 January 2015.
- CANSA’s Position Statement & Fact Sheet on Hydraulic Fracturing
- View Slideshows of speakers at media conference, Dr Carl Albrecht, Prof Eugene Cloete and Jonathan Deale.
Baseline Data Results
Read more about Reasons for Analysing Aquifer Water before Fracking starts and access the Baseline Data Results.
How you can help
- If you live in the Karoo and use aquifer water to drink, make sure that adequate baseline analyses have been done by fracking companies and placed on the CANSA website before fracking starts
- Help watchdog scientists to obtain spillage samples for chemical analyses
- Attend open meetings where fracking legislation is discussed – let your voice be heard
- Demand transparency about fracking fluid chemicals at any site and protest against carcinogens that may be in the fluid
- Track waste water and make sure it’s disposed of properly
- Make a donation to support our research projects to help fight cancer – visit cansa.org.za
The basic idea that CANSA has developed in conjunction with Jonathan Deal, CEO of the Treasure the Karoo Action Group (TKAG), is that a “Proof-of-concept” experiment should be done whereby underground drinking water is professionally removed from a GPS-defined well situated in an area where fracking companies have shown great interest recently; that this water is maximally analysed in various laboratories at Stellenbosch University Central Analytical Facility and that the baseline data is posted on the CANSA website. It is believed that such activity can have the following beneficial effects:
1. Open access publication of the baseline water data. It demonstrates that CANSA favours transparency.
2. The example of CANSA and TKAG could set a trend worldwide especially in countries where fracking is happening – or likely to happen.
3. Publication of the baseline data forces the fracking companies to be extra careful.
4. In some cases publication of baseline data could act as a deterrent against fracking on the particular farm where the underground water was analysed.
5. Ultimately the project is aimed at substantially reducing the cancer risk in drinking water associated with farms in the fracking areas of South Africa.
CANSA’s Involvement Up to Date
On the 3rd of March 2014, the first baseline water samples were taken from a borehole-wind-pump 14 km north of Cradock. This historic occasion was attended by CANSA’s Outgoing Head of Research, Dr Carl Albrecht, Jonathan Deal, the farmer and two journalists. All of the parties involved (except a representative of US) also signed a MOA. Six litres of Karoo water are now stored at minus 20 degrees centigrade in a dedicated deepfreeze. This water has being subjected to a battery of tests at the University of Stellenbosch.
A Research Collaboration Proposal meeting took place on 13 June 2014 in Stellenbosch between Dr. Carl Albrect (CANSA, Head of Research), Dr. Marietjie Stander (US, Head of LCMS unit of CAF), Prof. R.T. Newman (US, Head of Medical & Health Physics at US, KRBM research member), Mr. Ryno Botha (US, UWC, iThemba: NRF Research Internship, KRBM research member), Prof. Eugene Cloete (US, Research Vice Rector, Chair Person US Water Institute, KRBM funder).
South Africa has a chronic shortage of water and cannot tolerate pollution of water, especially not with carcinogens and/or Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals (EDCs). This project is a unique approach to preventing carcinogenic pollution of South African water resources.
- Treasure Karoo Action Group
- Estrogen and Androgen Receptor Activities of Hydraulic Fracturing Chemicals and Surface and Ground Water in a Drilling-Dense Region, C.D. Kassotis, D.E. Tillitt, J. Wade Davis, A.M. Hormann, S.C. Nagel [http://press.endocrine.org/doi/abs/10.1210/en.2013-1697]
- Technical Report: Cradock Groundwater Sampling and Analyses, W.S. Blay & J.A. Myburgh, April 2014
- Dept of Water Affairs National Water Policy Review – Invitation for General Public Comment, 30 August 2013
- Fracking could devastate South Africa’s water supply. WWF. Timeslive, 18 June, 2014
- Ground Zero for Karoo Fracking?
- Final fracking regulations will take account of public input
- Study reveals fracking can cause water pollution
Queries CANSA Research
For more information please contact Alice Victor, CANSA Science & Resource Centre Manager – email: firstname.lastname@example.org or tel: 021-689 5381.