Thursday, June 01, 2017

Decades will be needed to fully assess fracking's impact on drinking water, Geological Survey says

U.S. Geological Survey researchers have concluded that unconventional oil and gas production, largely through horizontal hydraulic fracturing, has not been a significant source of benzene or methane contamination in drinking-water wells in Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas, but "Decades or longer may be needed to fully assess the effects of unconventional oil and gas production on the quality of groundwater used for drinking water in Arkansas, Louisiana, and Texas," study leader Peter McMahon said in a press release.
USGS graphic
The researchers examined the shale formations of Eagle Ford (Texas), Fayetteville (Ark.), and Haynesville (La.), "which are some of the largest sources of natural gas in the country and have trillions of cubic feet of gas," the release said.

The study is the first to systematically examine these shale production areas for the presence of benzene and methane in drinking-water wells in relation to groundwater age, USGS said. The study was published May 31 in the journal Environmental Science and Technology.

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