New EPA report examines potential impacts of hydraulic fracturing on water resources

The Environmental Protection Agency has released a new draft report examining the potential impacts that hydraulic fracturing has on drinking water resources across the nation. The purpose of the research is to help clarify the relationship, if any, between these two entities.

WASHINGTON, DC, June 10, 2015 -- The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released a new draft report examining the potential impacts that hydraulic fracturing (fracking) has on drinking water resources across the nation. The purpose of the research is to help clarify the relationship, if any, between these two entities.

Completed at the request of Congress, the assessment shows that while fracking activities in the U.S. are carried out in a way that have not led to widespread, systemic impacts on drinking water resources, there are potential vulnerabilities in the water lifecycle that could impact drinking water.

The study compiles available scientific literature and data to assess how fracking can potentially change the quality or quantity of drinking water resources, as well as identify factors affecting the frequency or severity of these changes.

As part of the report, EPA researchers conducted 17 individual projects that resulted in over 20 peer-reviewed research papers. The results are integrated from EPA-led research efforts with a broad literature review and input from stakeholders through the Agency's technical outreach.

The EPA-led research efforts involved the analysis of existing data and consisted of a variety of case studies, laboratory studies, scenario evaluations, and toxicological studies. Further, the assessment encompassed water acquisition, chemical mixing, well injection, flowback and produced water, and wastewater treatment and waste disposal.

The new draft report can be used by federal, tribal, state, and local officials; industry; and the public to better understand and address any vulnerabilities that fracking creates for drinking water resources.

See also:

"New USGS publications unveil historical hydraulic fracturing trends and data"

"Fracking: Time to end US “wild west” wastewater treatment"

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