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Marcellus Shale N. America

Click to access DrNewell-EIA-Administrator-Shale-Gas-Presentation-June212011.pdf

The US EPA just released a draft study stating:
From our assessment, we conclude there are above and below ground mechanisms by which hydraulic fracturing activities have the potential to impact drinking water resources. These mechanisms include water withdrawals in times of, or in areas with, low water availability; spills of hydraulic fracturing fluids and produced water; fracturing directly into underground drinking water resources; below ground migration of liquids and gases; and inadequate treatment and discharge of wastewater. We did not find evidence that these mechanisms have led to widespread, systemic impacts on drinking water resources in the United States…http://www2.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2015-06/documents/hf_es_erd_jun2015.pdf This is a draft. More info here: http://www2.epa.gov/hfstudy A Webinar is today. Good luck finding where to comment on the draft.

Everyone should be using biofuel from kitchen and agricultural waste, along with solar, wind, and hydro. The contamination to water may not be immediate. Injection wells associated with fracking cause earthquakes. Common sense says that the fracking could lead to sinkholes. Why take these risks?

From Greenpeace:

A new study [1] has found that shale drilling and fracking contaminated drinking water wells in Pennsylvania. The study represents the first peer-reviewed paper confirming that fracking can and does contaminate drinking water supplies.

The study discovered that the whitish foam seeping from the faucets and hoses in Bradford county homes was the drilling chemical 2-BE a “foaming agent” known to cause tumors in rodents. The fracking industry contaminant was present in drinking water wells closest to Chesapeake Energy shale operations.

Residents of Bradford have been complaining about contaminated water since Chesapeake Energy began drilling in 2009. Bradford is now the “most fracked” county in Pennsylvania, and Chesapeake is the largest lease holder. While Chesapeake has never admitted responsibility for water contamination, the company has paid millions in settlements to Bradford residents since 2011.

Well water in Bradford, PA

But didn’t we already know that fracking can contaminate groundwater supplies?

Yes we did. The New York Times found that the EPA knew about groundwater contamination from fracking as far back as 1987. In fact, links between shale drilling, fracking, and groundwater contamination has been well documented.

But that has not stopped an industry-funded campaign of denial on the issue. The fracking industry has spent big to keep people in the dark on the real impacts from fracking, funding front groups like Energy In Depth to obscure the science on fracking and drilling.

Where is the EPA’s study on fracking’s impact on drinking water?

Even the EPA has been manipulated by the fracking industry’s campaign to hide this dangerous truth. The EPA, at the behest of Congress, was tasked with studying the impacts to water supplies from fracking in 2010. This study was supposed to tell the American people what can happen to water supplies when the the shale industry sets up shop. Five years and hundreds of thousands of fracked wells later, the EPA has still not given us an answer.

The EPA’s study was originally due to be released in 2012, but has been repeatedly delayed. As Inside Climate News reported, the delay may have been caused by interference from oil and gas corporations. Shale drilling and fracking companies, including Chesapeake Energy, refused to cooperate with EPA, effectively torpedoing key elements of the study. This delay has kept the American populace in the dark on the real impacts of fracking.

The confusion about who is to blame for contaminated water in Bradford County is an example of the havoc wrought by the fracking industry’s campaign of delay against the EPA’s water study. In fact, Bradford is one of the places being studied by the EPA in order to ascertain how fracking impacts groundwater. The EPA took 37 samples in Bradford in 2012, yet has not released any findings.

Documents obtained by Greenpeace [2] show that Chesapeake Energy fought the EPA’s research in Bradford. After Chesapeake found out the EPA intended to research water contamination issues in Bradford, Chesapeake commissioned their own study intended to directly address the EPA study and rebut any potential finding of contamination. The Chesapeake study, which they claimed was “independent,” found that there had been no groundwater contamination in the area. Chesapeake stuck with their claim that Bradford water was safe to drink, in spite of reports of sick livestock and illness in children exposed to Bradford groundwater.

Chesapeake demanded that the EPA include their industry-funded research in Bradford in the overall water study, even though the Chesapeake study collected less than half of the samples collected by the EPA. As Inside Climate News reported, Chesapeake also reneged on their promises to provide access to well sites for sampling by the EPA.

This new study is further proof that fracking has real impacts to the environment and public health, impacts that the industry has successfully denied for years.
http://greenpeaceblogs.org/2015/05/05/new-science-shows-fracking-contaminates-groundwater-yet-epa-still-muzzled-industry-pressure/ (Emphasis our own; Many useful links embedded at original)

http://greenpeaceblogs.org/2015/03/04/fracking-epa-water-study-documents/ (Many useful links embedded within the above article).

Note 1:
Current Issue > vol. 112 no. 20 > Garth T. Llewellyn, 6325–6330, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1420279112
Evaluating a groundwater supply contamination incident attributed to Marcellus Shale gas development
Garth T. Llewellyna,1, Frank Dormanb, J. L. Westlandb, D. Yoxtheimerc, Paul Grievec, Todd Sowersc, E. Humston-Fulmerd, and Susan L. Brantleyc,1

Edited by Stephen Polasky, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN, and approved April 2, 2015 (received for review October 22, 2014)

New techniques of high-volume hydraulic fracturing (HVHF) are now used to unlock oil and gas from rocks with very low permeability. Some members of the public protest against HVHF due to fears that associated compounds could migrate into aquifers. We report a case where natural gas and other contaminants migrated laterally through kilometers of rock at shallow to intermediate depths, impacting an aquifer used as a potable water source. The incident was attributed to Marcellus Shale gas development. The organic contaminants—likely derived from drilling or HVHF fluids—were detected using instrumentation not available in most commercial laboratories. More such incidents must be analyzed and data released publicly so that similar problems can be avoided through use of better management practices.

High-volume hydraulic fracturing (HVHF) has revolutionized the oil and gas industry worldwide but has been accompanied by highly controversial incidents of reported water contamination. For example, groundwater contamination by stray natural gas and spillage of brine and other gas drilling-related fluids is known to occur. However, contamination of shallow potable aquifers by HVHF at depth has never been fully documented. We investigated a case where Marcellus Shale gas wells in Pennsylvania caused inundation of natural gas and foam in initially potable groundwater used by several households. With comprehensive 2D gas chromatography coupled to time-of-flight mass spectrometry (GCxGC-TOFMS), an unresolved complex mixture of organic compounds was identified in the aquifer. Similar signatures were also observed in flowback from Marcellus Shale gas wells. A compound identified in flowback, 2-n-Butoxyethanol, was also positively identified in one of the foaming drinking water wells at nanogram-per-liter concentrations. The most likely explanation of the incident is that stray natural gas and drilling or HF compounds were driven ∼1–3 km along shallow to intermediate depth fractures to the aquifer used as a potable water source. Part of the problem may have been wastewaters from a pit leak reported at the nearest gas well pad—the only nearby pad where wells were hydraulically fractured before the contamination incident. If samples of drilling, pit, and HVHF fluids had been available, GCxGC-TOFMS might have fingerprinted the contamination source. Such evaluations would contribute significantly to better management practices as the shale gas industry expands worldwide.
http://www.pnas.org/content/112/20/6325.abstract (Emphasis our own)

Note 2: https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/808165-chk-unable-to-perform-full-test-for-bradford.html