Spills and leaks are common concerns associated with any kind of industrial activity, and shale gas development is no exception. Unintended releases can occur during transport of chemicals to and from the well pad; during storage, mixing, injection and recovery of fluids at the well pad; and during storage, processing or transport of waste fluids. They are certain to occur, but cannot be predicted precisely in time or space. Minimizing surface impacts associated with spills requires preventative planning, best management practices and targeted regulations set within a system of enforced compliance.
Stormwater runoff and erosion at shale gas well sites do not receive a great deal of attention from the popular media. However, erosion and release of contaminated or polluted stormwater represents a potential environmental impact associated with gas development activities. More information is provided here comparing shale gas development to construction and industrial activity, forms of development for which stormwater and erosion must also be carefully managed.