Where is fracking performed?
Fracking has been used by our domestic oil and gas industry for more than 75 years. In recent years, the development of new horizontal drilling technology using hydraulic fracturing has made possible the production of previously unrecoverable natural gas resources in the eastern, western, and southwestern United States.
In Wisconsin, a different kind of fracking is used to increase the productivity of water supply wells in relatively impermeable rocks, such as the granite in the central part of the state. In these cases, only pressurized water is injected into the well—no sand is added.
Permits and regulations
Concerns have been raised regarding environmental and nuisance problems as sand mines proliferate. Mine siting is regulated at the local zoning level. Mine reclamation plans, required by NR 135, must be in place before mining begins. The Department of Natural Resources provides technical assistance to local authorities for these plans. For a summary of Wisconsin’s nonmetallic mining regulations, visit the DNR website.
For more information
Contact the following staff at the Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey for more details about frac sand in Wisconsin:
phone: (608) 262-9403
Mine locations map: Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources—Industrial Sand Mining
Interactive map shows locations and types of frac sand mining operations
Economics: The Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis—Regional Business & Economics Newspaper
Article outlines the economic evaluation of frac sand mining (PDF)
Mining statistics: U.S. Geological Survey—Silica Statistics
Annual reports for national silica mining statistics
Planning and zoning: Center for Land Use Education (UW–Stevens Point)—Mining Publications and Resources
Four-part series on planning, zoning, and evaluating county nonmetallic mining plans
Silica dust: Occupational Safety and Health Administration—Crystalline Silica
Occupational health hazards and symptoms of exposure to silica dust