Yale Study Says Fracking Doesn't Contaminate Drinking Water

Matt Vespa
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Posted: Oct 19, 2015 8:32 PM
Yale Study Says Fracking Doesn't Contaminate Drinking Water

Okay; repeat after me: fracking does not pollute your drinking water. As Sean Hackbarth over at the Chamber of Commerce noted, a Yale study found no evidence that fracking, which is used in the process of extracting natural gas, causes drinking water to become undrinkable:

Organic compounds found in drinking water aquifers above the Marcellus Shale and other shale plays could reflect natural geologic transport processes or contamination from anthropogenic activities, including enhanced natural gas production. Using analyses of organic compounds coupled with inorganic geochemical fingerprinting, estimates of groundwater residence time, and geospatial analyses of shale gas wells and disclosed safety violations, we determined that the dominant source of organic compounds to shallow aquifers was consistent with surface spills of disclosed chemical additives. There was no evidence of association with deeper brines or long-range migration of these compounds to the shallow aquifers. Encouragingly, drinking water sources affected by disclosed surface spills could be targeted for treatment and monitoring to protect public health.

So, there you have it–deep drilling doesn’t poison drinking water. Yet, we knew this back in 2012, where the Environmental Protection Agency tested the drinking water in Dimock, PA and found that most of the harmful compounds in the water were “naturally occurring substances.” In all, the water was safe to drink:

Based on the outcome of that sampling, EPA has determined that there are not levels of contaminants present that would require additional action by the Agency.

[…]

EPA visited Dimock, Pa. in late 2011, surveyed residents regarding their private wells and reviewed hundreds of pages of drinking water data supplied to the agency by Dimock residents, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and Cabot. Because data for some homes showed elevated contaminant levels and several residents expressed concern about their drinking water, EPA determined that well sampling was necessary to gather additional data and evaluate whether residents had access to safe drinking water.

[…]

Overall during the sampling in Dimock, EPA found hazardous substances, specifically arsenic, barium or manganese, all of which are also naturally occurring substances, in well water at five homes at levels that could present a health concern. In all cases the residents have now or will have their own treatment systems that can reduce concentrations of those hazardous substances to acceptable levels at the tap.

Oh, and water has been catching fire since the 17th century, just go visit Burning Springs, New York. Journalist Phelim McAleer, who works with his wife, Ann McElhinney, have produced another short film GasHoax, which debunks many of the claims made by anti-fracking activists, namely Josh Fox, who made the documentary Gasland in 2010.

Gasland prompted Phelim and Ann to make FrackNation, which was regarded as “methodically researched” by The New York Times. It also gave a nice counterpoint to many of the claims made by Fox.