News Inferno; July 29, 2013
A new study reveals water pollution near sites where natural gas production is taking place.
The study, which was conducted by a research team from the University of Texas at Arlington, found high metal levels in drinking water supplies near hydraulic fracturing—fracking—sites, which the team says calls for additional study into oil production, according to WVGazette.com. Drinking water near natural gas extracting sites tested with high levels of arsenic, selenium, and strontium.
“This study alone can’t conclusively identify the exact causes of elevated levels of contaminants in areas near natural gas drilling, but it does provide a powerful argument for continued research,” lead author Brian Fontenot, a UT Arlington graduate who works for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), told the WVGazette.com. The study was published online by the journal Environmental Science and Technology.
The study looked at Barnett Shale’s water quality. The shale encompasses a 5,000 square mile area in northern Texas and encompasses some 17 counties in that state, WVGazette.com reported. The team sampled 100 water wells from the Trinity and Woodbine aquifers and so-called “reference sites” from the Nacatoch aquifer east of the Barnett Shale. While BTEX chemicals—benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and zylenes—were not detected in the drinking water, researchers detected the highest levels of metal contamination within three kilometers of fracking wells. Some samples tested with arsenic and selenium in amounts exceeding what the EPA considers safe. “At minimum, these data suggest that private wells located over natural gas wells may be a higher risk for elevated levels of constituents than those located further from natural gas wells,” the study concluded, according to WVGazette.com.
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