Acid jobs pump chemicals into gas and oil wells.
Image: Shutterstock

What, exactly, is an “acid job?”  It’s not the kind where your coworkers give you migraines.  This kind of “acid job” relates to a highly toxic method of extracting fossil fuels.  It is mostly unregulated by lawmakers, especially in California where this method is commonly used.

An ‘acid job’ is a process whereby companies pump chemicals such as hydrofluoric acid into an already built gas and oil well to melt rocks and objects that are obstructing oil flow.

“These are super-hazardous, poisonous chemicals and we have no idea what they are doing out there with it – how deep it is going, the volumes – nothing,” said Bill Allayaud of the Environmental Working Group. “Why shouldn’t our state agency be regulating it as we hope they’ll be regulating hydraulic fracturing?”

 If you’ve heard of fracking, you may know how dangerous that is.  Essentially, fracking blasts away rock formations with a toxic concoction of water and chemicals.  Acid jobs differ in that the chemicals are used to quickly eat away at rock and debris formations.

Both processes use highly toxic chemicals and can result in long-term environmental damage.

A further danger is that there is no government oversight.  There has long been international outrage over fracking, but not many people have come to know about acid jobs.  Companies are not required to report when they perform them.

“We should not have this activity going on until we know those risks,” said Kassie Siegel, an attorney with the Center for Biological Diversity.

“Taking hydrofluoric acid and injecting it into the ground and changing the geology down there is a big concern,” she said, especially if the acid was to migrate underground.

Just say, “Frack no!” to acid jobs.