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

EPA awards $8M in Great Lakes Restoration Initiative grants to combat invasive species

In an effort to combat invasive species in the Great Lakes basin, the Environmental Protection Agency has announced the award of 15 Great Lakes Restoration Initiative grants totaling more than $8 million.

New report assesses water quality in areas with fracked oil & gas wells

According to a recent U.S. Geological Survey study, more data and research are necessary to best undertand the potential risks to water quality associated with unconventional oil and gas development in the United States.

SNC, USFS launch Watershed Improvement Program in response to ongoing risks

The Sierra Nevada Conservancy, in partnership with the United States Forest Service, has announced the launch of the Sierra Nevada Watershed Improvement Program in response to ongoing climate change, damaging forest fires and ongoing drought throughout the West.

LAN to design new lift station for city of Friendswood, Texas

The city of Friendswood, Texas, recently announced that it has selected Lockwood, Andrews & Newnam to replace its existing Lift Station No. 18.

FOLLOW US ON SOCIAL MEDIA