Hydraulic fracturing noise and health concerns for Kansans

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Authors
Fuksa, Alicia J.
Issue Date
2020-02-26
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en_US
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In 2016, Kansas had over 93,000 operational oil and gas wells. According to the Kansas Geological Survey, approximately 244,000 oil and gas wells were drilled in Kansas over a period of 64 years. As recently as 2015, residents of Harper and Sumner counties have voiced concerns over the wastewater content, as well as seismic activity produced by this industry. Air and water impacts have been studied throughout the US, but rarely is the noise produced around such sites investigated. The purpose of this study was to (1) measure sound pressure levels in neighborhoods adjoining hydraulic fracturing ("fracking") well pads and compressors and (2) collect survey responses from residents to determine if the fracking noise could potentially cause hearing loss, sleep disturbances, and/or overall health impacts. The surveys and sound level readings have the potential to provide evidence that the health effects from fracking noise are like those from other noise sources (e.g., highway, airport, railroad, etc.). Although these investigators have measured sound levels and obtained surveys from rural areas of Pennsylvania and Oklahoma, the findings have the potential to provide investors and perspective home owners within Kansas information concerning health and wellness as they relate to fracking noise. The varied levels of noise caused by truck traffic, drilling, and compressors, along with reported seismic activity and subsonic sounds produced by the drilling can create levels of anxiety and sleep disruption that has the potential to affect Kansans' health.

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Poster project completed at the Wichita State University Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders. Presented at the 17th Annual Capitol Graduate Research Summit, Topeka, KS, February 26, 2020.
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Wichita State University
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