Ban Dumping of Wastewater


Target: Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy

Goal: Outlaw dumping of fracking wastewater off of California coastlines

Every year, offshore fracking rigs dump billions of gallons of wastewater into California’s oceans. Fluid pumped into ocean wells is typically pumped back out again, loaded with toxic chemicals, and dumped into the water. Dumping is federally permitted, despite the polluted nature of this wastewater and the danger presented when chemicals are dredged up from deep-water wells and released into the environment. Demand that the EPA ban the dumping of wastewater.

Fracking has had several adverse effects on land, not the least of which is widespread pollution of groundwater and erosion of the earth. In ocean fracking, polluted wastewater has a far greater potential for long-rage destruction when it is carried by tidal currents. Dispersal may reduce concentration of pollution, but at the cost of possibly farther-reaching impacts. Offshore fracking takes place close to shorelines and human habitation, and may negatively impact those who swim in polluted waters or eat fish that have been exposed to toxic chemicals and heavy metals.

Coral reefs, notoriously fragile, are also at risk because of changing environmental conditions brought about by fracking wastewater and may be likely to take the brunt of pollution from offshore rigs, to say nothing of the marine animals that thrive in reefs.

Ocean disposal of wastewater affects marine life on all levels, especially given the current global climate. Rising acid levels and decreasing oxygen have led to dead zones and algae blooms, as well as coral die-offs and an unbalanced ecosystem. Fracking wastewater will only add to these problems, and is a step backward for ocean health.

The aftereffects of the massive Deepwater Horizon spill still reverberate through the environment, demonstrating just how fragile the marine ecosystem is. Though perhaps not as immediately damaging as a large-scale oil spill, the dumping of fracking wastewater poses a threat to the environment and ocean life and is completely irresponsible. The true repercussions of wastewater pollution can’t be known, and this practice must be banned. Though disposal of dangerous toxic waste is difficult and poses a challenge, we should not resort to dumping into the oceans.


Dear Administrator Gina McCarthy,

Offshore fracking rigs are federally permitted to dump wastewater into the ocean despite the environmental threat. This wastewater is loaded with chemicals used to break up rocks as well as other toxic substances such as methanol and heavy metals from the wells themselves. Ocean disposal of wastewater threatens marine life with pollution and toxic chemical buildup that can destroy or kill vital reef habitats. Dumping may even adversely impact human beings. Offshore rigs are close to coastlines, and wastewater dumping affects those who fish from and swim in the ocean.

I ask that the Environmental Protection Agency address the threat of dumping wastewater and end federal permits that allow this to continue. The dangers of continued pollution of the marine environment are well-known and documented, with serious loss of corals reefs and ecosystem imbalance that hints at a possible collapse of our oceans. Ending ocean disposal of fracking wastewater is just one step of many toward protecting the health of the oceans and preventing catastrophic collapse.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Peter Bo Rappmund via Flickr, Creative Commons License

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