Water-Related News

Lake County Water Authority prepared to battle fracking

There’s no fracking anywhere in or near Lake County, but the Lake County Water Authority is prepared to battle it, if and when the possibility arises.

At the water authority’s monthly meeting this past Wednesday, board members heard a comprehensive report on the state of fracking in Florida. As a result the board has directed staff to monitor all future fracking applications, and to place a public records request with the state’s Department of Environmental Protection for any applications that may be already in the works.

According to the report by staffer Sergio Duarte, fracking would be difficult to permit in this state. But it is not prohibited at the state level, and could be permitted under the same regulations that govern the routine acid-wash cleaning of some wells. The difference with fracking is that the acid solution — not much stronger than what is currently used to cleaning mineral deposits from wells — is injected under pressure.

According to the report, “DEP reviews each individual permit application to ensure that water resources will be protected. Pollution from drilling operations is prohibited under Section 377.371. Florida Statutes.”

Board member Diana Mullins’ take on the situation was: “I’m sorry. We live on a giant sponge. (Whatever you inject) it goes everywhere. I’m not sure the amount of money on the fracking side won’t change some of the DEP applications.”

There are currently 64 producing crude oil/ natural gas wells in the state, all located either in the western panhandle or in the southwest part of the state. The only known fracking incident took place in Collier County about three years ago. The petroleum production company involved in that incident was fined for their action. The one oil well in Lake County, dug in the 1930s, failed to produce oil in commercial quantities.