- East Kent is one of the most arid parts of the Country
- Over 80% of our water needs comes from ground water from 'East Kent Stour Aquifer'
- That water supply is already deemed stressed by the Environment Agency
- The part of Aquifer in was the Kent Coalfield still shows impact of pollution from coal mining
- The processes like fracking use vast qualities of water with toxic chemicals to break up the rock and coal layers. Only a preportion of this water is recovered. There are issues of this processed water getting into the aquifer from fractures underground but also from how waste water is managed above ground.
- Here in East Kent, this further complicated by the fact that many parts of coal steam and mine working are flooded. This water needs to be recovered first before, pumped to the surface, stored and transported. All of it is toxic
- We have many sources of energy. There is no alternative water !
Exploratory Boreholes in East Kent – the Risk to the Chalk Aquifer
We understand that work at each of the three designated sites (Tilmanstone, Guston & Shepherdswell) will involve construction of exploratory boreholes through the Chalk aquifer and the underlying sequence of Wealden and Jurassic formations and Coal Measures; the purpose being to establish the presence and potential yield of the Shale |Group which is likely to be encountered 500 to 1000 Meters below the base of the aquifer.
Our concerns in the first instance relate to what we consider to be a high risk of methane and other constituent 'free' gases being mobilised by any drilling operation, including for an exploratory borehole, and subsequently migrating into the aquifer; notwithstanding the best efforts of the Regulators to ensure compliance by the operators with the necessary protective measures.
We must also take this opportunity to express surprise that any Shale Gas development could be contemplated, given the hydrogeological regime of the three sites selected for eventual fracking operations. The Chalk Aquifer of East Kent supports a high density of public supply boreholes and forms part of the North Downs groundwater resource which supplies at least 70% of the County's domestic and commercial requirements. The pressures that we understand will need to be applied to the Shale formations in a typical fracking operation could, depending on their composition, distort, disrupt, scour or fragment the constituent sediments of the Jurassic - Lower Cretaceous sequence separating the aquifer from the Coal Measures. The same process could, in extreme cases, re-activate any of the high angle faults in the Coal Measures and create new fracture patterns, allowing upward migration of gasses and liquids into the aquifer, which is itself heavily fissured.
From a water resources view point, this amounts to a high risk operation, and failure could result in the irreversible contamination of a major water supply source.
Graham D. Warren 8/9/2013
CPRE – Protect Kent Environment