I know a few people who have leased to frack drillers. Two things the land owner needs to watch is the care with which the fracking fluids are loaded and unloaded and the casing depth. When these are done right fracking is a boon to all involved.
Fracking in and of itself is a inexact science. They have zero control over whether or not the fracture will release into the water table or the air. There are areas in the country where natural gas bubbles from streams and people literally live in 24/7 poisonous gasses. There is no safe way to control this from not happening. Sure, there are places where this hasn't happened, but it's by pure luck because like I said before, it's an inexact science.
I suspect that fracking is not as inexact as you believe. Fracking has been done for over fifty years now. What has lead to the current boom are the advances in directional drilling. As for the process, it isn't till several sample wells (called soil borings) are drilled and the core samples analyzed that the decision whether to proceed with the fracking is made. While my company does not do fracking, we have installed and do maintain underground storage wells. During the exploration of the field, there were many soil borings done before enough data was gathered to make a decision. When the field was mapped, we knew exactly what we were doing. And there was a good sized safety margin set before we drilled the first real well. With what's at stake in a frack well, I expect the frack drillers are at least as thorough as what I've seen.
@Thunderchicken Actually, I don't think it's as exact as you believe, my wife is a geologist. Yes, they try their best to control it, but not because of environmental issues though, it's because that lost gas is lost $$$. There is simply no way to tell how a solid piece of rock is going to crack and while they do their best to make a good guess, it's still an inexact science.
@AceLuby - Yes, the very small non-zero possibility of failure. Don't get out of bed in the morning. Actually, you should drag your bed into the middle of a field because that non-zero might collapse your house. Of course that non-zero bolt of lightening might get you. Thinking of which, dragging your bed might cause you to non-zero your head onto a rock. Oh my...
Now then, back to the world we live in. If we currently install wells with a safety factor of 6 and you want to discuss upping the factor to 8 or 10, we can talk. If you (or your wife) think additional testing needs to be provided prior to mining, I'll listen. I'm very interested in safely obtaining this resource.
Food for thought - most structures are designed for a once every 300 year wind storm (hope your house isn't that old - TIC).
Derive made the point I would have made quite well. Nothing in 100%, 100% of the time. As for your gas loss assertion, I'll add that EPA fines and lawsuits are enough to keep drillers in line. Although LUFG (Lost and Unaccounted For Gas) is a problem. It isn't that great till you get near the end of production. From what I've seen, that last bit of gas isn't worth the time and money to get at it.(Just my opinion)
@Thunderchicken If you think we're anywhere near 100% for safe fracking you're either being willfully ignorant or simply lying to yourself to feel better. The Bush energy bill passed in the 2000's makes natural gas companies and oil companies exempt from the clean air and water act, so there are no fines and the lawsuits from the EPA, they come from regular people who are trying to sue a multi-billion dollar corporation. How do you think you'd do trying to sue a corporation who has a team of lawyers at their disposal and can afford to wait you out in the form of counter suits and appeals? How do you feel about these corporations taking 'mineral rights' on land that other people own and using that to frack, even though the rightful owner to that land did not give them permission?
What these companies are doing is deplorable, so to combat it they put out a MASSIVE marketing scheme to have friendly people tell them it's not so bad and that the ill effects are either outright lies or blown out of proportion. Want to know who did this same thing when it was found their product wasn't safe for consumption? Cigarettes. If we continue down this path in 30 years we aren't going to believe what we did to our water for a quick buck.
While that may be true for a straight pipeline, wells and compressors are treated very differently. With the EPA enforcing RICE MACT they are constantly checking up on us. I'm told this is the reason for the upped inspection frequency I've seem in the past few years. Also many times EPA and DOT regs overlap. I've been caught in that mess before. If I follow EPA I can incur DOT wrath and visa versa. I’m glad I no longer work the wells. Not only is it a regulation nightmare, the actual conditions suck too. But it’s open season on overtime.