Published on November 10th, 2011 | by Jeremy Bloom1
EPA links fracking to contamination of Wyoming aquifer
For years, the gas industry has denied there could be any possible link between hydrolic fracturing – aka fracking – and contamination of underground aquifers used by millions of Americans for drinking water and agricultural irrigation.
But a study released today has found just that – a pretty definitive link between fracking and the extensive contamination of an aquifer in Wyoming.
Here’s what they found, as reported in ProPublica:
- Chemical compounds consistent with those produced from drilling processes, including one — a solvent called 2-Butoxyethanol (2-BE) — widely used in the process of hydraulic fracturing.
- The agency said it had not found contaminants such as nitrates and fertilizers that would have signaled that agricultural activities were to blame.
- The wells also contained benzene at 50 times the level that is considered safe for people
- They also contained phenols — another dangerous human carcinogen — acetone, toluene, naphthalene and traces of diesel fuel.
- The EPA said the water samples were saturated with methane gas that matched the deep layers of natural gas being drilled for energy. The gas did not match the shallower methane that the gas industry says is naturally occurring in water, a signal that the contamination was related to drilling and was less likely to have come from drilling waste spilled above ground.
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