This page has links to articles/documents that report contamination issues with Marcellus Shale gas development.
- - 1118 - [July 2012] - resource for the Future, Lucija Muehlenbachs, Elisheba Spiller and Christopher Timmins - "Shale Gas Development and the Costs of Groundwater Contamination Risk"
- "While shale gas development can result in rapid local economic development, negative externalities associated with the process may adversely affect the prices of nearby homes. We utilize a difference-in-differences estimator with additional controls for house fixed effects and the boundary of the public water service area in Washington County, Pennsylvania to identify the capitalization of groundwater contamination risk in property values, differentiating it from other externalities, lease payments to homeowners, and local economic development. We find that proximity to wells increases property values. However, groundwater contamination concerns fully offset those gains by reducing property values up to 26 percent."
- - 1236 - [August 28, 2014] - WIVB.com, KEVIN BEGOS, Associated Press; MICHAEL RUBINKAM, Associated Press - "Report: Fracking contaminated drinking water wells in PA"
- "Six years into a natural gas boom, Pennsylvania has for the first time released details of 243 cases in which companies prospecting for oil or gas were found by state regulators to have contaminated private drinking water wells.
The Department of Environmental Protection on Thursday posted online links to the documents after the agency conducted a “thorough review” of paper files stored among its regional offices. The Associated Press and other news outlets have filed lawsuits and numerous open-records requests over the last several years seeking records of the DEP’s investigations into gas-drilling complaints."
- - 1238 - [September 15, 2014] - EurekAlert! - The Global Source for Science News, DUKE UNIVERSITY - "Contaminated water in 2 states linked to faulty shale gas wells"
- "Faulty well integrity, not hydraulic fracturing deep underground, is the primary cause of drinking water contamination from shale gas extraction in parts of Pennsylvania and Texas, according to a new study by researchers from five universities.
... Using noble gas and hydrocarbon tracers, they analyzed the gas content of more than 130 drinking water wells in the two states.
"We found eight clusters of wells -- seven in Pennsylvania and one in Texas -- with contamination, including increased levels of natural gas from the Marcellus shale in Pennsylvania and from shallower, intermediate layers in both states," said Thomas H. Darrah, assistant professor of earth science at Ohio State, who led the study while he was a research scientist at Duke."
- - 1275 - [NA] - eeNews, Robert B. Jackson, Avner Vengosh, Thomas H. Darrah, Nathaniel R. Warner, Adrian Down, Robert J. Poreda, Stephen G. Osborn, Kaiguang Zhao and Jonathan D. Karr - "Increased stray gas abundance in a subset of drinking water wells near Marcellus shale gas extraction"
- "We analyzed 141drinking water wells across the Appalachian Plateaus physiographic province of northeastern Pennsylvania, examining natural gas concentrations and isotopic signatures with proximity to shale gas wells. Methane was detected in 82% of drinking water samples, with average concentrations six times higher for homes <1 km from natural gas wells (P=0.0006). Ethane was 23 times higher in homes<1 km from gas wells (P=0.0013); propane was detected in 10 water wells, all within approximately 1 km distance (P=0.01)."
- - 1364 - [February 11, 2015] - LA Times, Julie Cart - "High levels of benzene found in fracking waste water"
- "oping to better understand the health effects of oil fracking, the state in 2013 ordered oil companies to test the chemical-laden waste water extracted from wells.
Data culled from the first year of those tests found significant concentrations of the human carcinogen benzene in this so-called "flowback fluid." In some cases, the fracking waste liquid, which is frequently reinjected into groundwater, contained benzene levels thousands of times greater than state and federal agencies consider safe.
The testing results from hundreds of wells showed, on average, benzene levels 700 times higher than federal standards allow, according to a Times analysis of the state data."
- - 1368 - [November 18, 2013] - The CommonSenseCanadian, Damien Gillis and Will Koop - "Talisman frackwater pit leaked for months, kept from public"
- "A pit storing contaminated fracking water in northeast BC was leaking into the surrounding soil and groundwater for up to six months before owner Talisman formally notified the Oil and Gas Commission and undertook clean-up efforts, The Common Sense Canadian has learned.
One of five lined pits connected to Talisman’s Farrell Creek operations north of Hudson’s Hope, referred to as Pond A, suffered a puncture through both of its protective layers, causing toxic fluids to begin escaping into the environment. The pits are used to store “produced water” from previous fracks to be reused later as part of a program to cut back on freshwater use. Ironically, this practice has now threatened local groundwater due to the ruptured liners.
It has proven difficult to obtain straight answers from the regulator or company, but through a series of recent communications, we have been able to piece together a rough timeline of the incident."
- - 1471 - [May 8, 2012] - Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Stephen G. Osborna, Avner Vengoshb, Nathaniel R. Warnerb, and Robert B. Jacksona - "Methane contamination of drinking water accompanying gas-well drilling and hydraulic fracturing"
- "Directional drilling and hydraulic-fracturing technologies are dramatically increasing natural-gas extraction. In aquifers overlying the Marcellus and Utica shale formations of northeastern Pennsylvania and upstate New York, we document systematic evidence for methane contamination of drinking water associated with shale-gas extraction. In active gas-extraction areas (one or more gas wells within 1 km), average and maximum methane concentrations in drinking-water wells increased with proximity to the nearest gas well and were 19.2 and 64 mg CH4 L-1 (n = 26), a potential explosion hazard; in contrast, dissolved methane samples in neighboring non-extraction sites (no gas wells within 1 km) within similar geologic formations and hydrogeologic regimes averaged only 1.1 mg L-1 (P < 0.05; n = 34). Average δ13C-CH4 values of dissolved methane in shallow groundwater were significantly less negative for active than for nonactive sites (-37 ± 7‰ and -54 ± 11‰, respectively; P < 0.0001). These δ13C-CH4 data, coupled with the ratios of methane-to-higher-chain hydrocarbons, and δ2H-CH4 values, are consistent with deeper thermogenic methane sources such as the Marcellus and Utica shales at the active sites and matched gas geochemistry from gas wells nearby. In contrast, lower-concentration samples from shallow groundwater at nonactive sites had isotopic signatures reflecting a more biogenic or mixed biogenic/thermogenic methane source. We found no evidence for contamination of drinking-water samples with deep saline brines or fracturing fluids. We conclude that greater stewardship, data, and—possibly—regulation are needed to ensure the sustainable future of shale-gas extraction and to improve public confidence in its use. "
- - 1478 - [May 3, 2012] - NRDC - SwitchBoard, Amy Mall - "New report: Expert confirms EPA finding that fracking linked to Wyoming ground water contamination"
- "An independent scientist has confirmed that fracking has clearly contaminated a drinking water source east of the town of Pavillion, Wyoming, supporting the findings in a draft EPA report published in December.
This is not only important news for residents of the small town with contaminated water-– but it has national significance as well. While oil and gas corporations enjoy exemptions from critical protective environmental provisions in the Safe Drinking Water Act and Clean Water Act, they have continued to publicly claim there has never been any proof that fracking has contaminated drinking water--despite reports of suspected cases from around the country."
- - 1598 - [June 15, 2011] - FactCheck.org, NA - "Inhofe on Fracking, Water Contamination"
- "Sen. James Inhofe says there has never been “an instance of ground water contamination” caused by hydraulic fracturing — fracking — for oil and natural gas. Inhofe’s office told us he is referring only to “the physical act of cracking rocks through hydraulic fracturing.” But drilling operations that involve fracking include other actions that have caused contamination.
A peer-reviewed study published in 2014 found that drinking water wells near fracking sites in Pennsylvania and Texas were contaminated with methane that had the chemical signature of gas normally found only deep underground."
- - 1617 - [ecember 15, 2008] - AP The Big Story, Kevin Begos - "Some states confirm water pollution from drilling"
- "In at least four states that have nurtured the nation's energy boom, hundreds of complaints have been made about well-water contamination from oil or gas drilling, and pollution was confirmed in a number of them, according to a review that casts doubt on industry suggestions that such problems rarely happen.
The Associated Press requested data on drilling-related complaints in Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia and Texas and found major differences in how the states report such problems."
- - 1620 - [NA] - Energy In Depth, Katie Brown - "Five Facts about Ingraffea and Howarth’s Latest Methane Study"
- "A new study on methane was published this week, arguing that emissions from seven well pads emit methane “2 to 3 orders of magnitude greater than US Environmental Protection Agency estimates” during the drilling phase of a well. Unsurprisingly, several news outlets put out the expected headlines portending the usual doom. Greenwire proclaims: “Significant methane leaks found from wells still in drilling process.” The LA Times put it this way: “EPA drastically underestimates methane released at drilling sites.”"
- - 1684 - [October 10, 2013] - Special to HuntingtonNews.Net, Tom Rhule - "Fracking Waste Chemicals Allegedly Found in WV Near Drinking Water Inputs"
- "This open letter is to ask for your participation in the upcoming public hearing held by the WV Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) for the permitting of two Lochgelly horizontal hydrofracturing (frack) waste injection wells that have been operating out of compliance, and unpermitted, for over a year, and to apprise you of the surrounding issue.
It may become a challenge for you because, though the problem of industrial dumping is affecting the health of WV citizens, most solutions are being blocked by those who finance lawmakers overseeing state agency budgets."
- - 1753 - [NA] - Pro Publica, Abrahm Lustgarten - "Officials in Three States Pin Water Woes on Gas Drilling"
- "Norma Fiorentino's drinking water well was a time bomb. For weeks, workers in her small northeastern Pennsylvania town had been plumbing natural gas deposits from a drilling rig a few hundred yards away. They cracked the earth and pumped in fluids to force the gas out. Somehow, stray gas worked into tiny crevasses in the rock, leaking upward into the aquifer and slipping quietly into Fiorentino's well. Then, according to the state's working theory, a motorized pump turned on in her well house, flicked a spark and caused a New Year's morning blast that tossed aside a concrete slab weighing several thousand pound."
- - 1764 - [August 11, 2014] - Pro Publica, Abrahm Lustgarten - "Officials in Three States Pin Water Woes on Gas Drilling"
- "Norma Fiorentino's drinking water well was a time bomb. For weeks, workers in her small northeastern Pennsylvania town had been plumbing natural gas deposits from a drilling rig a few hundred yards away. They cracked the earth and pumped in fluids to force the gas out. Somehow, stray gas worked into tiny crevasses in the rock, leaking upward into the aquifer and slipping quietly into Fiorentino's well. Then, according to the state's working theory, a motorized pump turned on in her well house, flicked a spark and caused a New Year's morning blast that tossed aside a concrete slab weighing several thousand pounds."
- - 1815 - [NA] - NU Writing, Kristen Coletti - "Hydraulic Fracturing in the Marcellus Shale Region of the U.S."
- "This paper reviews hydraulic fracturing in the Marcellus Shale emphasizing potential drinking water contamination via underground pathways for vertical gas and fracking fluid transport. It begins with an overview of the hydraulic fracturing process and the origins of shale gas, and then describes the regions where shale gas can be found and the composition of the fracking fluid. Potential sources of aquifer contamination are explored, with focus given to fractures as sources for vertical transport within rock layers. An overview of many contamination cases and claims across the United States is presented, followed by suggested improvements to the fracking process. Finally, federal and state legislature regarding hydraulic fracturing is reviewed."
- - 1848 - [May 11, 2015] - Observer-Reporter, Emily Petsko - "DEP receives tests from Range impoundments"
- "Range Resources will CONTINUE to monitor the water quality surrounding several of its defunct impoundments in Washington County, but the company wants to “discontinue” its tests for substances typically associated with fracking fluids, including benzene, toluene, methanol and glycols.
Those so-called constituents “have never been detected or have been detected at such low levels that they do not constitute a concern,” according to a report SUBMITTED on behalf of Range to the state Department of Environmental Protection.
If the DEP AGREES, it could bring an end to a long and costly ordeal for the natural gas drilling company."
- - 1850 - [May 8, 2015] - The New York Times, NICHOLAS ST. FLEUR - "Fracking Chemicals Detected in Pennsylvania Drinking Water"
- "An analysis of drinking water SAMPLED from three homes in Bradford County, Pa., revealed traces of a compound commonly found in Marcellus Shale drilling fluids, according to a STUDY published on Monday.
The paper, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, ADDRESSES a longstanding question about potential risks to underground drinking water from the drilling technique known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. The authors suggested a chain of events by which the drilling chemical ended up in a homeowner’s water supply."
- - 1851 - [May 4, 2015] - DeSmog, Steve Horn - "Exclusive: Censored EPA PA Fracking Water Contamination Presentation Published for First Time"
- "DeSmogBlog has obtained a copy of an Obama Administration Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) fracking groundwater contamination PowerPoint presentation describing a then-forthcoming study's findings in Dimock, Pennsylvania.
The PowerPoint presentation reveals a clear link between hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) for shale gas in Dimock and groundwater contamination, but was censored by the Obama Administration. Instead, the EPA issued an official desk statement in July 2012 - in the thick of election year - saying the water in Dimock was safe for consumption."
- - 1852 - [August 5, 2013] - EPA, NA - "Isotech - Stable Isotope Analysis - Determining the origin of methane and its effect on the aquifer."
- "Methane is released during the drilling and perhaps during the fracking process and other gas well work.
Methane is at significantly significantly higher concentrations concentrations in the aquifers aquifers after gas drilling and perhaps as a result of fracking and other gas well work.
The methane migrating into the aquifer is both from the shallower (younger age) formations and older Marcellus Shale (and perhaps even older formations).
Methane and other gases released during drilling (including air from the drilling) apparently cause significant damage to the water quality.
In some cases the aquifers recover (under a year) but, in others cases the damage is long term (greater (greater than 3 years)."
- - 1854 - [January 16, 2013] - Yahoo! News, Ramit Plushnick-Masti - "EPA changed course after oil company protested."
- "WEATHERFORD, Texas (AP) — When a man in a Fort Worth suburb reported his family's drinking water had begun bubbling like champagne, the federal government sounded an alarm: An oil company may have tainted their wells while drilling for natural gas.
At first, the Environmental Protection Agency believed the situation was so serious that it issued a rare emergency order in late 2010 that said at least two homeowners were in immediate danger from a well saturated with flammable methane. More than a year later, the agency rescinded its mandate and refused to explain why."
- - 1954 - [June 8, 2015] - MarketWatch, Myra P. Saefong - "Why shale producers are happy with this EPA fracking study"
- "The energy industry agrees with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency — at least when it comes to the findings of an EPA study on hydraulic fracturing.
Michael Krancer, partner and chair of the energy industry team at law firm Blank Rome LLP, said a draft report on the EPA study shows that fracking is “safe,” with “no widespread issues.”
Here’s what the EPA draft report released last week officially says: “There are above- and below-ground mechanisms by which hydraulic fracturing activities have the potential to impact drinking water resources.” "
- - 1957 - [March 29, 2012] - MintPress News, MintPress News Desk - "How The Mainstream Media Whitewashed The EPA’s Fracking Study"
- "Several mitigating factors in the purported “landmark” investigation have been so blatantly and conspicuously ignored by mainstream press that it is arguable the true findings haven’t been disclosed at all.
The EPA released findings of its study on the impact of fracking on drinking water resources, but derelict reporting by corporate media has utterly failed the public. Several mitigating factors in the purported “landmark” investigation have been so blatantly and conspicuously ignored by mainstream press that it is arguable the true findings haven’t been disclosed at all."
- - 1983 - [NA] - Protecting Our Waters, Iris Marie Bloom - "Shale Gas Drilling Makes People Sick in More Ways Than One"
- "Pain is escalating in shale drilling areas across Pennsylvania, from southwest to northeast, but at least one reporter is revealing the symptoms Pennsylvania doctors are finding themselves unable to treat in shale country. Susan Phillips’ report, “A Link Between Heavy Drilling and Illness? Doctors Search for Solid Answers,” is powerful and disturbing. Phillips reports on both the symptoms — face lesions, headaches, nausea — residents in heavy drilling areas are suffering, and on the lab results showing residents may be exposed to benzene, toluene, or other substances."
- - 2012 - [April 4, 2011] - NRDC - Natural Resources Defense Council, NRDC - "Unchecked FrackingThreatens Health, Water Supplies"
- "Weak safeguards and inadequate oversight have allowed oil and gas producers to run roughshod over communities across the country with their extraction and production activities for too long, resulting in contaminated water supplies, dangerous air pollution, destroyed streams, and devastated landscapes. Our state and federal leaders have failed to hold them to account, leaving the American people unprotected. Many companies don't play by the few rules that do exist; and industry has used its political power at every turn to gain exemptions from environmental laws designed to protect our air and water."
- - 2034 - [June 15, 2015] - Environmental Action, Drew Hudson - "You Can't Trust the EPA on fracking"
- "The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) finally released their study on how fracking impacts drinking water. You’ll doubtless see headlines repeating the study’s main finding that fracking poses no “widespread” risk to drinking water. But even that summary is a lie, or at least a very misleading falsehood, and we’ll tell you why:
EPA-approved-flaming-waterThe first, and most important reason not to trust this study on fracking’s impact to drinking water: The EPA is a bunch of fracking liars. In July 2013, an investigative report in the Los Angeles Times revealed that EPA officials in Washington, D.C. chose to close an investigation of polluted drinking water in Pennsylvania despite evidence gathered from EPA investigators based in Philadelphia that found “significant damage to the water quality.”"
- - 2037 - [June 11, 2015] - Sunday Gazette-Mail, Ken Ward Jr., Staff writer - "EPA says new study doesn’t show fracking is safe"
- "Texas regulators are scrutinizing some of the biggest U.S. energy producers in the wake of several earthquakes that have rocked the Dallas-Fort Worth area this year.
An Exxon Mobil Corp. subsidiary and EOG Resources Inc., one of the biggest shale-oil and gas pumpers, are facing questions about their use of injection wells to dispose of wastewater from hydraulic fracturing operations....
Texas regulators are scrutinizing some of the biggest U.S. energy producers in the wake of several earthquakes that have rocked the Dallas-Fort Worth area this year.
title: Exxon to Face Regulators’ Questions Over Quakes
source: The Wall Street Journal
authors: Erin Ailworth
date: June 6, 2015
Making that correlation may be understandable, but it's almost certainly wrong.
Some have suggested it could be fracking, a decades-old process that forces water and chemicals into underground shale formations, driving oil and natural gas out of the fissures to be extracted.
Several states with strong fracking industries have seen an uptick in seismic activity. North Texas, for example, has undergone a flurry of earthquakes. Oklahoma experienced more magnitude-3 quakes last year than California. Earlier this month, Michigan suffered an earthquake with a magnitude of 4.2.
A recent spate of earthquakes across the United States has raised concerns that hydraulic fracturing — fracking — is the cause.
title: No evidence fracking causes earthquakes
source: Lompoc Record.com
authors: Merrill Matthews is a resident scholar with the Institute for Policy Innovation in Dallas.
Despite statements from industry officials and political leaders, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency officials say that their new study of the nation’s natural gas boom should not be described as proof that the nation’s water supplies are safe from hydraulic fracturing."