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Duke Study Links Fracking to Water Contamination As EPA Drops Study on Fracking Water Contamination

Last week, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) kicked the can down the road on a key study designated to examine the connection between hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) and groundwater contamination in Pavillion, Wyoming. 

A study originally scheduled for release in 2014 and featured in Josh Fox's “Gasland 2,” it will not be complete until 2016 in a move that appears to be purely politically calculated by the Obama Administration, akin to the EPA's dropped and censored groundwater contamination study in Weatherford, TX.

Now, just days later, a damning study conducted by Duke University researchers published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences again links shale gas fracking to groundwater contamination. The Duke researchers did so by testing samples of 141 drinking water samples of Pennsylvania's portion of the Marcellus Shale basin. 

This is the Duke professor's third study linking fracking to groundwater contamination, the source of drinking water for hundreds of thousands of citizens in the Keystone State. The industry is likely to come out with the familiar chorus that the contaminated water is “naturally occuring,” but the latest Duke study shows otherwise. 

“They found that, on average, methane concentrations were six times higher and ethane concentrations were 23 times higher at homes within a kilometer of a shale gas well,” a Duke University press release explains. “Propane was detected in 10 samples, all of them from homes within a kilometer of drilling.”

Robert Jackson, a professor of environmental sciences at Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment and one of the study's co-authors, pointed to the the fact that some of the contaminated water samples exhibited the chemical signature of Marcellus Shale gas. 

“The methane, ethane and propane data, and new evidence from hydrocarbon and helium content, all suggest that drilling has affected some homeowners’ water,” said Jackson. “In a minority of cases the gas even looks Marcellus-like, probably caused by poor well construction.” 

The Duke study offers food-for-thought in the hours leading up to President Obama's forthcoming announcement of a climate change legislative plan at Georgetown University, just a month after his Bureau of Land Management adopted the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) model bill for fracking chemical fluid disclosure on public lands.

Photo Credit: ShutterStockAaron Amat

 

Comments

The past shows that the EPA isn't to be trusted when it comes to Industrial
Chemicals…even (or especially) when it comes to pesticides and chlorine…and perhaps especially in so-called “tobacco” issues. Here's that story from one source:
http://archive.tobacco.org/resources/documents/osteensummary.html

The whole back and forth on this is at search pages for “Osteen EPA”.

Elsewhere we find that Judge Osteen, who shot down EPA's phoney hit on
“Environmental Tobacco Smoke”, was a confirmed anti-smoker. No matter about this decision—(which was later voided based on jurisdiction, not content, grounds) EPA garbage about “ETS” was and is still used to justify smoking bans.
(And OSHA's failure to find evidence against indoor “ETS” is rarely
mentioned….except by off-track “smoker's rights” groups. Other big studies that find no threat in “second hand smoke” are also ignored.)
In this fracking case, and in that “smoking” deal, the EPA is caught
protecting the interests of Big Industrial Chemicals.
In the cig case, yeah, it looked like the EPA was hot on the tail of evil “Big
Tobacco”…but the EPA was actually protecting them from the astronomical potential liabilities linked to the pesticides, chlorine-dioxin, and other deadly non-tobacco cigarette components. Chlorine and pesticide etc interests let off the hook too.

This is Very Hard to research because the issue has been reduced to
pro-smoking and anti-smoking. forces. Thorough research, that includes
acknowledgement of the non-tobacco cig contaminants is NOT TO BE FOUND. You can go to “conservative” sites that hate the EPA no matter what, or to “smoker's rights” sites (that ignore smoker's rights to know what they're smoking, to be free of industrial chem poisoning, or to have rights to compensation for being guinea-pigged and endangered) and you get nowhere. (Proving you got your cancers from cigarette pesticides, rads and dioxins…and not from somewhere else…is next to impossible, I hear.)

PS: What's really funny are those who list “chemicals” to scare people from smoking tobacco. They list DDT, formaldehyde, arsenic, vinyl chloride, and a bunch of other chems, and PO-210 radiation, that are NOT parts of tobacco but ARE dangerous industrial goodies that the EPA, FDA and the rest still ALLOW in cigs, without testing and without warning to consumers. DDT has been banned for use in the USA for… what… decades. It's in US cigs because, back in 2003 or so, US Customs and Dept of Ag, incredibly, STOPPED checking import tobacco for DDT and other toxins banned in the US. That was just a year after the GAO condemned lax govt oversight of pesticide residues on tobacco.
Sadly, and inexplicably, even anti-pesticides activists fail to note that
there are MANY pesticide residues in typical cigarettes. Indeed, a lot of
evidence against pesticide use is being lost as so many harms are allowed to be blamed on just the tobacco plant.
 

Typical of you anti-science types.

i suppose I could cut and paste this kind of reply…   But then I'm not paid to spout rubbish across the Internet.

I work in oil and gas.  We talk about wells that failed quite often.  Yes.  They leak.

Its a problem becasue you may be leaking production oil somewhere else.

That's why the industry spends a lot of money using extremely advanced sensors to look for and spot holes in wells.  If you ever get into an arguement with someone on the inside, they will say, A) Check the cement logs, or B) Our wells never leak.

Meanwhile back in reality, the Alberta government argues that its dangerous to store CO2 underground because of leaks into surface ground water.  (Did you need me to provide you with government documentation on that?  Pictures?)  The Alberta government has also fined companies for polluting ground water.

All wells begin to fail over time, and as far as I know, there is no solution for that.

Oh and… fracking has nothing to do with it.  Wells leak.

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A recent peer-reviewed study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences has confirmed what many fracking critics have argued for years: drilling operations associated with hydraulic fracturing (“fracking) for oil and gas can contaminate groundwater. 

For the study, researchers examined groundwater contamination incidents at three homes in Pennsylvania's Marcellus Shale basin in Bradford County. ...

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