Expert on groundwater looks at fracking in SA
Origins Centre's last public lecture for 2011 will be held on 23 November and is hosted with the Geological Society of South Africa on the controversial subject of fracking. Director of the Institute for Groundwater Studies at the University of the Free State, Dr Danie Vermeulen, will deliver a talk based on fracking operations in the Marcellus Shale in Pennsylvania and the applicability of lessons learned in the USA for fracking in South Africa.
According to Dr Vermeulen, enormous volumes of water and sand are being used in Pennsylvania incurring considerable transportation operations. The return water must also be dealt with, necessitating the construction of treatment plants. Dr Vermeulen queries how South Africa will deal with these problems and where the water will come from in semi-arid regions (Pennsylvania is a water-rich state).
He addresses what can be done to police the process effectively and examines new methods being researched in the United States to make hydraulic fracking more environmentally friendly. He also questions if there will be economic advantages to the people resident in fracking areas and how profits can be shared.
Dr Vermeulen is a member of a number of international groundwater and mining associations, and also serves on the Executive Council of the International Mine Water Association, the Fossil Fuel Foundation of SA and the Water SA Editorial Board.