Drilling companies are in the process of buying mineral rights to as much land as they can. Once a site is chosen they will clear and level anywhere from two to ten acres. They will build access roads and pipe lines and bring in potentially hundreds of truckloads of materials.
They will drill down to the formation and then drill horizontally for a mile or more, often in several directions from the same well pad. Explosive charges are set off at the end of the pipelines to crack the rock, followed by highpressure injection of nitrogen gas (most common in Tennessee so far) or water mixed with sand and up to 750 different chemicals that act as lubricants and sterilizers. Many of these chemicals are carcinogenic and are not disclosed to the public.
When water is used as the fracking fluid, the average volume is 2-8 million gallons, half of which is not recovered. The other half must be stored in open ponds and then hauled to disposal sites.