EPA reported that the number of documented cases is small compared to the number of fracking operations, but EPA said the oil and gas industry refused to provide researchers with key data that prevented "experts from reaching firm conclusions about whether contaminants in an individual well came from fracking or another source." The report did say that fracking operations “have the potential” to affect drinking water. "Opponents and supporters of fracking instantly seized on portions of the report that supported their view," Warrick writes.
The report "provides information about potential vulnerabilities, some of which are not unique to hydraulic fracturing, to drinking water resources but was not designed to be a list of documented impacts," Daniel Enoch reports for Agri-Pulse. Vulnerabilities are: water withdrawals in areas with low water availability; hydraulic fracturing conducted directly into formations containing drinking water resources; inadequately cased or cemented wells resulting in below ground migration of gases and liquids; inadequately treated wastewater discharged into drinking water resources; and spills of hydraulic fluids and hydraulic fracturing wastewater, including flowback and produced water.