The EPA has released initial findings from ground water testing in the Pavillion, WY area. Pavillion residents have complained of contaminated drinking water wells for many years, suspecting fracture drilling, or fracking, is causing contamination.
The EPA results can be found here. Their interpretation of these results should be forth coming in the next few weeks. In the meantime the results are available for all interested parties. The effects of fracking are also of critical interest in the Marcellus Shale formation in New York and Pennsylvania.
Fracking promises to deliver millions of barrels of oil and gas, and according to this article in the Financial Times, could even make the US independent of foreign oil. However, we have to get a handle on the long term consequences of this technique. We don’t want to end up trading the oil production at the cost of our drinking water.
For an overview of fracking see this Scientific American article, where it is explained that groundwater reserves and oil and gas reserves, although separated by thousands of vertical feet, may be connected by natural and man made fractures.
2 Comments Add yours
Nice Post! The fact that we could be compromising our clean water sources is scary – however I would like to see the USA develop more of our own resources. Balance for sure is needed.
The comments I have seen so far don’t bode well for the oil companies on this one. I don’t know if you looked at the EPA report, but it isn’t for the faint of heart! Lots-o-data, and far more than I can interpret, but from what I have read they found chemicals in the water wells consistent with fracking chemicals (versus the kind of chemicals naturally present in gas deposits).
The Scientific American article is good because it defines some of the semantics being argued like- fracking ITSELF isn’t the problem, it’s the well casings that cause problems, they leak fracking fluids. That is silly posturing IMHO, we have to get this figured out and come up with better procedures or technology if the possibility of contaminating the water is there, regardless of the HOW. I am all for getting free of foreign oil dependence, let’s just be smart about it.