• US states fracking-related water pollution confirmed
    Fracking has been linked to water pollution complaints in several US states

Water/Wastewater

US states fracking-related water pollution confirmed

Jan 06 2014

Water pollution related to the process of hydraulic fracturing (fracking) has been confirmed in four US states. The states, which have embraced the natural gas energy boom, have received hundreds of complaints concerning the quality of well water. 

The complaints have suggested that drinking water has been contaminated by oil and gas operations, which has now been confirmed in a number of cases. This has been a blow to the industry, which has stated that such cases of water contamination are incredibly rare.

Data on complaints related to fracking operations in Texas, Ohio, West Virginia and Pennsylvania was requested by the Associate Press. The news provider found that each state had very different ways of reporting issues such as this. Three of the states only provided a basic outline while Texas included more detail. 

While the data did confirm some problems, they were only representative of a small number of operations carried out by the oil and gas industry every year in the US. However, public mistrust of the industry could be increased due to the lack of information provided in the reports, suggests the news provider.

It was found that a total of 398 complaints were received in Pennsylvania throughout 2013, which states that private water wells had been polluted or affected by fracking operations. This is a decrease from the number of complaints filed in the previous year, which reached 499. 

These grievances can include a number of problems, including reduction in water flow over a short amount of time, as well as water pollution. Over 100 complaints concerning water pollution have been confirmed in the state over the last five years, reports the news provider. 

Fracking has become a popular source of energy in the US over the last decade, reducing the need for imports and providing a low-emission fuel. However, as the popularity of natural shale extraction has grown, so to have the fears over pollution.

The process frees shale from rock formation by injecting a mixture of sand, water and chemicals into the ground. These substances can lead to contamination of groundwater, due to the high saline levels, heavy metals, chemicals and levels of naturally occurring radiation.


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