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Hydraulic Fracturing in Idaho

Hydraulic Fracturing FAQ's

What is Hydraulic Fracturing?

Hydraulic Fracturing (sometime referred to as “frac’ing” or “fracking”) is the process of injecting fluid under pressure into a geologic formation in the subsurface to create fractures in the formation to stimulate or increase the recovery of hydrocarbons.  The fluid is often used in conjunction with sand or tiny ceramic beads (referred to as “proppant”) which is used to hold open the fractures after the fluid flows back into the well bore.

Is Hydraulic Fracturing occurring in the state of Idaho?

No.  To date, the Idaho Department of Lands has not received any applications for hydraulic fracturing.  The gas resource being developed in western Idaho is found in a highly permeable and porous sandstone four to six-thousand feet below the surface.  This sandstone reservoir does not require stimulation to efficiently produce the hydrocarbons found here.

Most of the hydraulic fracturing occurring in the United States today occurs in rocks that have very little space between the grains, and those spaces are not well-connected.  As a result, the hydrocarbons are not able to flow easily from the rocks into the well bore.  These types of formations are termed “resource plays”.  No resource plays have been identified in Idaho at the present time.

Before Hydraulic Fracturing can occur, who must be notified?

Any Application for Permit to Drill must include any plans for well treatments, including hydraulic fracturing, if they are known before the well is drilled.  If an operator elects to perform any well treatment at a later date, a separate application and fee must be paid to Idaho Department of Lands.  Idaho Code requires that any application for well treatment or hydraulic fracturing be posted on the Commission’s web page for ten days for public comment.

In addition, the Department must submit copies of the application materials to Idaho Department of Environmental Quality (IDEQ) for evaluation.  While not a requirement, the Department will also work with Idaho Department of Water Resources (IDWR) to ensure that all water well owners within one-quarter mile of the proposed treatment have been notified.


Multi-well hydraulic fracturing operation in the Denver-Julesburg Basin, Colorado, May 2019. Photo courtesy J. Thum

Where can I find additional information regarding Hydraulic Fracturing?

See IDAPA Well Treatments and IDAPA Hydraulic Fracturing.

For additional information on hydraulic fracturing, please visit the Ground Water Protection Council’s website here:

More detailed information can also be found on the Frac Focus website:

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