Answering Aunt Edna

Groundwater Protection

You’ve probably answered this question many times, but many Aunt Ednas are still asking, “How do you ensure that drinking water is protected during fracking?”

We thought it might help to offer a new approach to how we answer questions about drinking water protection.

Share this infographic on your social networks today by clicking here.

All that cement and steel is equal to what?!

Before we begin a typical fracking process, we first build a well with three million pounds of cement and steel barriers. These barriers are designed to protect drinking water, which is generally less than a thousand feet below the surface. The layers of cement and steel ensure that everything that’s supposed to stay in, stays in and that everything that’s supposed to stay out, stays out.

  • The cement and steel we use to build a well are the same materials that are used to hold up skyscrapers and bridges – structures we all see as sturdy, safe and built to last.
  • Three million pounds of cement and steel when building a well is enough material to build a five-story office building.

Don’t forget the natural barrier – tons of rock.

Because we are fracking more than a mile below the surface, there are thousands of feet of rock between the fracture zone and the drinking water aquifers. These rocks weigh millions of tons and create a natural layer of armor, in addition to the man-made barriers.

You can see more in a Department of Energy infographic here.

Spread the word

  • Share this infographic with your friends, family, and neighbors on social media — click the image above to get started.
  • Proactively engage in discussions about oil and natural gas development, and encourage questions. If there are questions you have trouble answering, let us know at

‘Answering Aunt Edna’ is a recurring series that is designed to help CAN members answer tough questions from their friends, family and neighbors.