Duke study finds no water well contamination from fracking

Duke study finds no water well contamination from fracking.
Opponents of natural gas drilling have consistently spread fear by alleging that hydraulic fracturing contaminates groundwater and releases methane, saline and arsenic into water wells.
(Remember the “documentary” Gasland?)
Duke geochemistry and water quality professor Avner Vengosh and his team examined 112 drinking wells over a three year period in the heavily-drilled area of northwestern West Virginia.
The researchers were able to sample 20 water wells before drilling began to establish a baseline for comparison.
Vengosh reached this unambiguous conclusion: “We did not find any evidence of groundwater contamination from shale gas development.” Yes, the researchers did find varying levels of methane and arsenic, but through the use of special geochemical “tracers,” they determined the substances were naturally occurring or a result of old wells or coal mines from years ago.
Their presence in aquifers “was found to be a widespread phenomenon and likely a result of natural migration of deep brine and natural gas-rich fluids combined with shallow water rock interactions.” In some cases, arsenic concentrations exceeding national drinking water standards were found in water wells before shale gas development.
However, the peer-reviewed study does not let the gas drilling industry off the hook.
The researchers concluded that accidental spills of fracking wastewater at drilling and disposal sites may pose a threat to surface water.
The Agency took so much heat from environmentalists that it struck that that conclusion from its final report.

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