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

Construction of first tunnel under SF Bay completed; provides reliable drinking water source

The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission has joined with Dave Pine, president of the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors, to celebrate the completion of the first tunnel under San Francisco Bay at the location where the first Hetch Hetchy water enters Crystal Springs Reservoir.

India desalination plant to receive high-capacity ultrafiltration technology

Ultrafiltration membrane technology specialist inge GmbH recently secured the largest project in the company's history and will supply high-capacity UF technology for a desalination plant in the city of Jamnagar, India.  

Article discusses nation's connection to water, pricing schemes, steps toward sustainable future

A new article explores the nation's vital connection to water amidst a backdrop of crumbling infrastructure, significant waste and ongoing droughts. It examines the history of pricing schemes and the role of agriculture and presents a series of steps to a sustainable water future.

U.S. Water Alliance now accepting nominations for 2015 U.S. Water Prize

The U.S. Water Alliance has officially announced that it is now accepting nominations for the 2015 U.S. Water Prize.  

FOLLOW US ON SOCIAL MEDIA