Fracking and Water Safety

A new study from Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment made waves earlier than this week after finding that fracking activity in West Virginia had not contaminated groundwater. This is consistent with prior studies from the Environmental Protection Agency and others that suggest that groundwater is unaffected by fracking.

Such findings bolster the case for continued fracking, which has driven down consumer prices for oil and gas and helped the United States reduce power sector emissions.

It’s worth noting that nearly every report on the subject has found that spills at fracking sites have occasionally impacted local surface water quality.

“Based on consistent evidence from comprehensive testing, we found no indication of groundwater contamination over the three-year course of our study,” said Avner Vengosh, professor of geochemistry and water quality at Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment. ”However, we did find that spill water associated with fracked wells and their wastewater has an impact on the quality of streams in areas of intense shale gas development.”

For more information about fracking, check out the following sources:

Brief: Protecting the states’ ability to regulate fracking
Study: The green side of fracking
Study: Fugitive emissions from hydraulic fracturing: Current knowledge and policy implications
Study: A retrospective review of shale gas development in the United States