Appalachian Basin

A Faucet Flames (In 1982)

Few distortions from Gasland are more annoying or deceitful than the flaming faucet scene, long since proven to be unrelated to hydraulic fracturing, although the image remains emblazoned on the minds of viewers and certainly in the preconceived notions of many journalists.  How many times have we endured the replay of that scene, which imparts two lies at once: that hydraulic fracturing causes faucets to flame and that such phenomena are brand new developments.

The first lie was exposed by the State of Colorado.  The second lie has been revealed several places, but one of the most interesting and effective is an article from Water Well Journalin 1982. What makes it so effective is something very simple – this picture of a flaming faucet from back when Josh Fox was just beginning to dream of his avante-garde film and stage direction career (ok, he was only a child, but you get the point).

Picture of flaming faucet from 1982 issue of Water Well Journal

The article also states the following:

Methane gas can occur naturally in water wells and when it does, it presents unique problems for water well drilling contractors. The major concern relates to flammable and explosive hazards associated with methane gas (see Figure1). However, with the treatment discussed in this article, methane and other dissolved gases can be effectively removed from the water system.

Hydrogeologists, of course, have been aware of this forever, but Josh Fox is no hydrogeologist and he isn’t much interested in hearing from them.  Indeed, he knew the Colorado flaming faucet was anything but what he made it out to be and went ahead with the scene anyway.  His image is now history and it’s in color, too, but the truth, in this case, is black and white and it may be found in the photo above: of a flaming faucet from three decades ago.


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