EPA Studies Fracing Impact on Drinking Water

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The Environmental Protection Agency has dedicated resources to study the potential impact on drinking water related to the fracking process used in the natural gas industry.

Hydraulic fracking is a process used to fracture shale formations deep below the earth?s surface in order to release natural gas.  In order to obtain the natural gas, drilling is needed to reach the shale formations.  Once reached, the formations are fractured (or fraced) in order to release the natural gas.  The EPA has stated that ?natural gas plays a key role in our nation?s clean energy future.?  At the request of Congress, the EPA is studying whether hydraulic fracing could potentially impact drinking water. 

As stated in their study plan, the EPA has:

  • conducted an initial literature review,
  • requested and received information from industry on chemicals and practices used in hydraulic fracturing
  • discussed initial plans for case studies with landowners and state, local and industry representatives, and;
  • conducted baseline sampling for retrospective case studies using scientifically sound approaches that have been shared with collaborators.

The initial results are due by the end of 2012. 

More information about the EPA?s efforts can be read on the EPA website at www.epa.gov/hfstudy/index.html.

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