Fracking No Threat to Groundwater: USGS

Wednesday, June 7, 2017 @ 11:06 AM gHale

Fracking and its environmental ramifications continue to be an ongoing issue throughout the industry and a new report could add more fuel to the fire as it contradicted claims made by environmentalists after it found hydraulic fracturing doesn’t pose a grave threat to drinking water.

The study found nine examples of water contamination in wells, but every one of the 116 water well examined was either naturally occurring or not linked to fracking, according to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) published examined the wells across the energy-rich regions of Arkansas, Texas and Louisiana.

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“Another day, another study confirming fracking is not a major risk to groundwater,” said Steve Everley, a spokesman for Texans for Natural Gas.

This report comes less than a year after the U.S. EPA’s landmark study that also found no evidence of widespread water pollution from fracking,” Everley said. “It’s time to put to rest the false claim that the shale revolution has threatened Americans’ drinking water supplies, because the science clearly does not support it.”

Eight of the nine contaminated well samples came from groundwater that was older than 2,500 years, suggesting natural processes were at play. The one non-ancient was not found to be contaminated by fracking. Wells contained methane isotopes and hydrocarbon gas compositions indicating biological origins, and not from fracking or industrial activities.

This is the seventh U.S. government study to conclude fracking is not a major risk to drinking water supplies.

For example, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published a five-year study in 2016 that found fracking was not causing widespread groundwater contamination. A 2014 report by National Energy Technology Laboratory, which is run by the Energy Department, made a similar finding.

Environmentalists at Ecowatch responded to such studies by arguing, “millions of Americans know that fracking contaminates groundwater and for the EPA to report any differently only proves that the greatest contamination from the industry comes from its influence and ownership of our government.”

Even scientists whose research was directly financed by environmentalists couldn’t find evidence that fracking contaminates groundwater.

“Our funders, the groups that had given us funding in the past, were a little disappointed in our results,” said Amy Townsend-Small, the study’s lead researcher. “We haven’t seen anything to show that wells have been contaminated by fracking.”

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