Department of Energy Study Finds No Contamination Associated With Marcellus Frac Wells


The Department of Energy  released a study that, in short, concludes that there is no link between hydraulic fracking in the Marcellus Shale and groundwater contamination.  The DOE, which was given access by the industry to monitor multiple sites, monitored situes both during and after  the fracking process.  It discovered that the chemicals used to free gas remained 5,000 feet below any drinking water supplies.   The DOE indicated that the frac fluids remained approximately one mile below drinking water.   DOE researchers used “tracers” and monitored the frac fluids injection in order to determine whether the fluids permeated to or near the surface.  The government study touts that it was independent:

The work was conducted via collaboration between government, in-dustry, and academia, in order to provide an unbiased, science-based source of information with which future decisions about shale gas development may be guided.

Its findings, in short, indicate that:

under the conditions of this study, for this specific location, fracture growth ceased more than 5,000 feet below drinking water aquifers, and there was no detectable upward migration of gas or fluids from the hydraulically fractured Marcellus Shale.

Given that the independent study was performed just south of New York’s borders and within the same shale formation, the report may impact New York’s on-going analysis of whether to permit hydraulic fracturing.


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