When “produced water,” the chemical-laden flowback from oil and gas deposits—frequently several times saltier than the ocean—is spilled, the soil is often destroyed. Clean up costs are extreme, and reclamation is ineffective. Drinking water contaminated by this salty, chemical-laced water cannot currently be made safe to drink. The web of gathering and transmission pipelines across a field are often contributors to spills of produced water, oil, and condensates, all of which can wreak havoc on land and water.
Below are stories about people impacted by oil and gas spills and leaks.