Methane in drinking water unrelated to fracking, study suggests

.  Fracking Well

…and the controversy continues

Here’s a study, using data supplied by Chesapeake Energy Corp. which has large oil and gas stakes in Pennsylvania, that refutes the notion about the level of methane in well water is caused by hydraulic fracturing:

Fracking doesn’t appear to be allowing methane to seriously contaminate drinking water in Pennsylvania, a new study finds—contrary to some earlier, much publicized research that suggested a stronger link. But the lead authors of the two bodies of research are sparring over the validity of the new results.

The new study of 11,309 drinking water wells in northeastern Pennsylvania concludes that background levels of methane in the water are unrelated to the location of hundreds of oil and gas wells that tap hydraulically fractured, or fracked, rock formations. The finding suggests that fracking operations are not significantly contributing to the leakage of methane from deep rock formations, where oil and gas are extracted, up to the shallower aquifers where well water is drawn.

The result also calls into question prominent studies in 2011 and 2013 that did find a correlation in a nearby part of Pennsylvania. There, wells closer to fracking sites had higher levels of methane. Those studies, however, were based on just 60 and 141 domestic well samples, respectively.”

You can read the rest of the article at:

EPA releases first part of fracking study, an analysis of chemical disclosure

Hydraulic Fracking WellThe U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is starting to release its long-awaiting study on the impact of hydraulic fracturing on drinking water. The complete report is expected to be released later this spring.

The study ran from January, 2011 to February, 2013

The first part of the report that has been released says that less than 1% of the fluid used in the fracking operation contained additives in their analysis of 39,000 wells. 

The report stated, “The agency identified 692 separate frack water ingredients. Maximum concentrations of these chemicals were usually below 2 percent of the total mass, while half of the chemicals were below 0.3 percent of mass. The chemicals that were found to be the most present in the wells were hydrochloric acid, methanol, and hydro-treated light petroleum distillates. Hydrochloric acid is used to keep the well casings free of mineral build-ups, while methanol is used to increase viscosity. Petroleum distillates are refined products like diesel, kerosene, or fuel oil, and are used to make the fluid “slick,” or soapy, and thereby reduce friction.”

The full EPA report will address the questions regarding the toxicity of the chemicals that were found in the water.

Once again, the release of this information about fracking points to the need for well owners to take some matters into their own hands if they want to be sure they and their family are drinking safe, clean well water. 

We urge well owners living near a fracking well operation to test their well water and use it as a ‘baseline test’. Then, on at least an annually basis, they should have their well water tested to see if any contaminants are beginning to show up. If they are found, the well owner should observe their level of concentration over time to see if it growing. This information enables the well owner to put the right filtration treatment in place to make their water safe and clean.

Learn more about well water testing at Drinking Water Specialists

You can read the original article about this report here.