Tag Archives: Groundwater

New study: fracking doesn’t contaminate groundwater

Hydraulic fracturing also known as "fracking"
Hydraulic fracturing, also known as “fracking”

A new study was reported in the Daily Signal.

Excerpt:

Hydraulic fracturing hasn’t contaminated groundwater in Texas, isn’t an earthquake hazard, and has been a boon for the state’s economy, according to a study released Monday.

The new study’s conclusions on drinking water are in line with multiple other studies of hydraulic fracturing, popularly known as fracking.

Hydraulic fracturing is the process of drilling into rock and injecting a high-pressure mixture of water, sand, and chemicals to obtain shale gas and oil, which is produced from fractured rock. Some environmentalists argue that it can harm water supplies.

The report initiated by the Academy of Medicine, Engineering and Science of Texas, based in Austin, asserted that “direct migration of contaminants from targeted injection zones is highly unlikely to lead to contamination of potential drinking water aquifers.”

[…]“In Texas and pretty much everywhere, hydraulic fracturing has not been proven to have an adverse impact on drinking water,” Christine Ehlig-Economides, a professor of petroleum engineering at the University of Houston who is chairwoman of the task force, told The Daily Signal.

But that’s not all:

The study also explored the impact of fracking in five other areas: geology and earthquake activity; land resources; air quality; the economy; and society. It found generally positive results for each.

However, in a sixth category, transportation, the report found that fracking produced a surge of trucks, damaging pavement at an estimated cost to state taxpayers of $1.5 billion to $2 billion per year.

Even so, the study concluded that fracking adds $473 billion to the Texas economy and created 3.8 million jobs.

This isn’t the first study this year that found that fracking is safe for the environment.

The radically leftist National Public Radio reported on another study out of Duke University earlier this year:

Fracking the Marcellus Shale did not pollute groundwater in northwestern West Virginia, but wastewater spills did contaminate surface water, according to a new study from Duke University.

[…]The study was unique in that it monitored drinking water wells and surface water over three years, a longer time period than previous research on the impact of fracking on drinking water. The study also used multiple methods of determining the source of the pollution, and was able to draw on baseline water quality data.

“Based on consistent evidence from comprehensive testing, we found no indication of groundwater contamination over the three-year course of our study,” said Avner Vengosh, professor of geochemistry and water quality at Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment. ”

[…]The peer-reviewed study was published recently in Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, a European journal.

[…]Vengosh said the baseline data, gathered from drinking water wells before shale gas drilling occurred nearby, boosts their confidence in the results. A total of 112 water wells were sampled over three years, with 20 sampled before drilling or fracking occurred.

Now, I know that Democrats will not like this study, but the study was rigorous and thorough:

David Yoxtheimer, a hydrogeologist with Penn State’s Marcellus Center for Outreach and Research, who was not involved in the study, said the report is comprehensive in that it used a number of different tools to determine the source of contamination.

“This is a good example of an objective study,” said Yoxtheimer. “They kept their scientific glasses on and looked at it objectively. It’s the type of science we need more of out there. Collect data without motive and come back and report.”

Prior to this study, we had a peer-reviewed PNAS study:

Now comes a study, conducted by scientists at the University of Texas and published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences — and co-financed by one of the highest-profile environmentalists in the country — that shows much smaller amounts of methane emissions associated with fracking, far less than environmentalists and the Environmental Protection Agency have contended.

[…]The study, billed as the first to measure the actual emissions of methane from natural gas wells, finds these emissions were, in some cases, only about 2% of the most recent national estimate by the EPA in 2011. An upcoming EPA rule, effective January 2015, requires all methane to be captured when liquids are removed after drilling.

[…]“For those wells with methane capture or control, 99% of the potential emissions were captured or controlled,” the study notes.

[…]Thanks in large part to fracking, energy-related carbon dioxide emissions in 2012 were the lowest in the U.S. since 1994, at 5.3 billion metric tons. With the exception of 2010, emissions have declined every year since 2007.

Prior to that study, there was this report from the far-left EPA, also reported in the radically leftist National Public Radio.

Excerpt:

The Environmental Protection Agency says it finds no evidence that hydraulic fracturing — better known as fracking — has led to widespread pollution of drinking water. The oil industry and its backers welcome the long-awaited study while environmental groups criticize it.

“We found the hydraulic fracturing activities in the United States are carried out in a way that has not led to widespread systemic impacts on drinking water resources,” says Tom Burke, Science Advisor and Deputy Assistant Administrator of EPA’s Office of Research and Development. “In fact, the number of documented impacts to drinking water resources is relatively low when compared to the number of fractured wells,” he adds.

The EPA’s draft assessment was conducted at the request of Congress. “It is the most complete compilation of scientific data to date,” says Burke, “including over 950 sources of information, published papers, numerous technical reports, information from stakeholders and peer-reviewed EPA scientific reports.”

Fracking reduces air pollution and lowers energy costs for consumers and businesses that employ consumers. What’s not to like? People on the political right like fracking, because they are aware of the science in these studies. People on the left hate science, and so they hate fracking. They don’t let science inform their views.

New study: fracking doesn’t contaminate groundwater

Hydraulic fracturing also known as "fracking"
Hydraulic fracturing, also known as “fracking”

I doubt this will be interesting to the Bill Nye / Neil deGrasse Tyson socialist crowd, but it will be interesting to conservatives, who do care about the latest peer-reviewed research.

This was reported by the radically leftist National Public Radio:

Fracking the Marcellus Shale did not pollute groundwater in northwestern West Virginia, but wastewater spills did contaminate surface water, according to a new study from Duke University.

[…]The study was unique in that it monitored drinking water wells and surface water over three years, a longer time period than previous research on the impact of fracking on drinking water. The study also used multiple methods of determining the source of the pollution, and was able to draw on baseline water quality data.

“Based on consistent evidence from comprehensive testing, we found no indication of groundwater contamination over the three-year course of our study,” said Avner Vengosh, professor of geochemistry and water quality at Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment. ”

[…]The peer-reviewed study was published recently in Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, a European journal.

[…]Vengosh said the baseline data, gathered from drinking water wells before shale gas drilling occurred nearby, boosts their confidence in the results. A total of 112 water wells were sampled over three years, with 20 sampled before drilling or fracking occurred.

Now, I know that Democrats will not like this study, but the study was rigorous and thorough:

David Yoxtheimer, a hydrogeologist with Penn State’s Marcellus Center for Outreach and Research, who was not involved in the study, said the report is comprehensive in that it used a number of different tools to determine the source of contamination.

“This is a good example of an objective study,” said Yoxtheimer. “They kept their scientific glasses on and looked at it objectively. It’s the type of science we need more of out there. Collect data without motive and come back and report.”

Prior to this study, we had a peer-reviewed PNAS study:

Now comes a study, conducted by scientists at the University of Texas and published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences — and co-financed by one of the highest-profile environmentalists in the country — that shows much smaller amounts of methane emissions associated with fracking, far less than environmentalists and the Environmental Protection Agency have contended.

[…]The study, billed as the first to measure the actual emissions of methane from natural gas wells, finds these emissions were, in some cases, only about 2% of the most recent national estimate by the EPA in 2011. An upcoming EPA rule, effective January 2015, requires all methane to be captured when liquids are removed after drilling.

[…]“For those wells with methane capture or control, 99% of the potential emissions were captured or controlled,” the study notes.

[…]Thanks in large part to fracking, energy-related carbon dioxide emissions in 2012 were the lowest in the U.S. since 1994, at 5.3 billion metric tons. With the exception of 2010, emissions have declined every year since 2007.

Bill Nye and Neil DeGrasse Tyson didn’t like that study, because it was experimental science.

They also hated this report from the far-left EPA, also reported in the radically leftist National Public Radio.

Excerpt:

The Environmental Protection Agency says it finds no evidence that hydraulic fracturing — better known as fracking — has led to widespread pollution of drinking water. The oil industry and its backers welcome the long-awaited study while environmental groups criticize it.

“We found the hydraulic fracturing activities in the United States are carried out in a way that has not led to widespread systemic impacts on drinking water resources,” says Tom Burke, Science Advisor and Deputy Assistant Administrator of EPA’s Office of Research and Development. “In fact, the number of documented impacts to drinking water resources is relatively low when compared to the number of fractured wells,” he adds.

The EPA’s draft assessment was conducted at the request of Congress. “It is the most complete compilation of scientific data to date,” says Burke, “including over 950 sources of information, published papers, numerous technical reports, information from stakeholders and peer-reviewed EPA scientific reports.”

I remember telling Democrats in my previous job about these peer-reviewed studies and DOE reports and EPA reports, and they denied all of this data. I guess they had their feelings roused by carefully produced Hollywood movies, and their worldviews have been set in stone. They believe what they believe, and the strength of their beliefs are not going to be affected by peer-reviewed science.

New study: fracking does not contaminate drinking water

Hydraulic fracturing also known as "fracking"
Hydraulic fracturing also known as “fracking”

The study comes out of Yale University, and was published in PNAS. Pretty good school, pretty good peer-reviewed journal.

Here’s the introduction:

Organic compounds found in drinking water aquifers above the Marcellus Shale and other shale plays could reflect natural geologic transport processes or contamination from anthropogenic activities, including enhanced natural gas production. Using analyses of organic compounds coupled with inorganic geochemical fingerprinting, estimates of groundwater residence time, and geospatial analyses of shale gas wells and disclosed safety violations, we determined that the dominant source of organic compounds to shallow aquifers was consistent with surface spills of disclosed chemical additives. There was no evidence of association with deeper brines or long-range migration of these compounds to the shallow aquifers. Encouragingly, drinking water sources affected by disclosed surface spills could be targeted for treatment and monitoring to protect public health.

So, the fracking – which happens deep below the earth – didn’t introduce any new chemical additives into the water. Basically, fracking involves fracturing rocks using high pressure water, sand and chemicals. The question is whether chemicals and/or the fracking fluid contaminate the water supply used by humans. The answer, according to this study, is no. The distance between the water supply and the shale is simple far, far, far too great for the cracks to traverse. The minor contamination from surface spills is easy to detect and cleanup. This is not what you see on far left web sites and Hollywood movies, but it is what you see in studies down by Yale University scientists published in prestigious peer-reviewed science journals.

Anyway, this study is consistent with a report from the far-left radically environmentalist Environmental Protection Agency.

This is reported in the radically leftist National Public Radio, of all places.

Excerpt:

The Environmental Protection Agency says it finds no evidence that hydraulic fracturing — better known as fracking — has led to widespread pollution of drinking water. The oil industry and its backers welcome the long-awaited study while environmental groups criticize it.

“We found the hydraulic fracturing activities in the United States are carried out in a way that has not led to widespread systemic impacts on drinking water resources,” says Tom Burke, Science Advisor and Deputy Assistant Administrator of EPA’s Office of Research and Development. “In fact, the number of documented impacts to drinking water resources is relatively low when compared to the number of fractured wells,” he adds.

The EPA’s draft assessment was conducted at the request of Congress. “It is the most complete compilation of scientific data to date,” says Burke, “including over 950 sources of information, published papers, numerous technical reports, information from stakeholders and peer-reviewed EPA scientific reports.”

Fracking has allowed drillers to tap oil and natural gas reserves once thought off-limits deep underground. That has led to drilling booms across the country and boosted the country’s oil and natural gas production significantly. But environmental groups have long argued fracking comes with a cost to the environment, especially to water. Those groups have called for stronger regulations and even bans on fracking altogether.

[…]The American Petroleum Institute says the conclusions echo what the oil industry has argued all along. “Hydraulic fracturing is being done safely under the strong environmental stewardship of state regulators and industry best practices,” says Erik Milito, API upstream group director.

Acknowledging the potential vulnerabilities outlined in the EPA report, Milito says, “Continuous safety improvements have been an ongoing part of hydraulic fracturing for 65 years.”

Indeed. This is not the first time that the radically leftist EPA has cleared the fracking industry, either. I blogged about the last one for Dimock, Pennsylvania.

Here’s an excerpt from the EPA press release that exonerates fracking:

 The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today that it has completed its sampling of private drinking water wells in Dimock, Pa. Data previously supplied to the agency by residents, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and Cabot Oil and Gas Exploration had indicated the potential for elevated levels of water contaminants in wells, and following requests by residents EPA took steps to sample water in the area to ensure there were not elevated levels of contaminants. Based on the outcome of that sampling, EPA has determined that there are not levels of contaminants present that would require additional action by the Agency.

[…]Overall during the sampling in Dimock, EPA found hazardous substances, specifically arsenic, barium or manganese, all of which are also naturally occurring substances, in well water at five homes at levels that could present a health concern. In all cases the residents have now or will have their own treatment systems that can reduce concentrations of those hazardous substances to acceptable levels at the tap. EPA has provided the residents with all of their sampling results and has no further plans to conduct additional drinking water sampling in Dimock.

So, if you want to worry about fracking, it will have to be because of something other than facts. We have facts piled on facts piled on facts, and they all say that fracking is a great way for us to get cheap, clean energy that doesn’t pollute the environment or contaminate our water supply. You have to be anti-science to doubt this data. Democrats do oppose fracking. They don’t know about the science, they just oppose it because that’s what’s in the popular culture, in Hollywood movies, etc. We have to fight them with the science. Democrats are the anti-science party, so don’t expect this to alter their rhetoric.