Hydraulic fracturing affects water wells, study finds

Sponsored by

DURHAM, NC, May 13, 2011 -- According to a new study by Duke University researchers, claims that drinking water wells near hydraulic fracturing sites have become contaminated are true.

In the study, funded by the Nicholas School and Duke's Center on Global Change, the researchers analyzed samples collected from nearly 70 private wells in five counties in northeastern Pennsylvania and New York -- the vicinity of the controversial Marcellus Shale region.

The scientists found methane in 85% of the samples but samples taken from wells located close to active hydraulic fracturing sites exhibited much higher levels -- an average of 17 times higher.

The scientists were able to differentiate between thermogenic methane and biogenic methane. The former comes from very deep underground and is captured in gas wells during fracking, while the latter is produced at shallower depths and is not associated with hydraulic fracturing. The researchers determined that the methane found in the water samples collected from sites within a kilometer of fracking activity was of the thermogenic variety and exhibited a chemical signature matching that of the gas chemistry profiles of shale gas wells in the area.

"At least some of the homeowners who claim that their wells were contaminated by shale-gas extraction appear to be right," says Robert B. Jackson, Nicholas Professor of Global Environmental Change and director of Duke's Center on Global Change.

On a more positive note, the study found no evidence of contamination from fracking fluids.

###

Sponsored by

TODAY'S HEADLINES

Innovative carbon-neutral wastewater treatment plant unveiled in California

The EPA recently joined the Bureau of Reclamation, California Energy Commission and Congressman Col. Paul Cook at the ceremonial start of Victor Valley Wastewater Reclamation Authority's carbon-neutral energy project located at ITS wastewater treatment facility in Victorville, Calif.

Scottish Water to spend £3.5 billion on infrastructure improvements

Utility Scottish Water will invest £3.5 billion investment over six years to improve drinking water supplies, wastewater discharge and water mains...

Conquering Everest’s water contamination problem

A Ball State University team from Indiana is working to bring clean drinking water to a small, isolated community in mountainous Nepal that lies in the middle of the heavily congested pathway to Mount Everest...

MD counties to undergo major six-year water, wastewater design project

Louis Berger has been awarded a $4-million, three-year contract with the Washington Sanitary Suburban Commission for a water and sewer design project focusing on financing water and sewer reconstruction programs and inspection and repair of critical water and sewer infrastructure.

FOLLOW US ON SOCIAL MEDIA