UTA research finds dangerous bacteria in groundwater near Texas gas drilling sites
Residents living near gas drilling sites have reported skin rashes and gastrointestinal distress.
Industry critics often blame hydraulic fracturing chemicals, even when the water had only minor “abnormalities.” Now, researchers from the University of Texas at Arlington have found what could be a different culprit: bacteria.
Schug, one of the authors and director of UTA’s Collaborative Laboratories for Environmental Analysis and Remediation, or CLEAR, said the research doesn’t conclusively connect fracking with the contaminated water.
“Oil and gas companies are committed to protecting groundwater,” he said.
About the bacteria that researchers found, Staples said the connection to gas drilling is “based on proximity and nothing more."
Stigler-Granados said more work is needed to understand how groundwater environments are changing.
For their latest studies, the UTA researchers tested private water wells in the Barnett Shale areas of North Texas and Eagle Ford Shale areas of South Texas.
No specific illnesses could be attributed to the bacteria discovered during the research.
The Texas Department of State Health Services does not require reporting of infections caused by the bacteria in the UTA study, an agency spokesman said.
Both of those bacteria were found in groundwater.