A three-year study by the University of Cincinnati found that hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, for natural gas had no effect on water quality in five eastern Ohio counties at the center of the Utica shale boom.
“The good news is that our study did not document that fracking was directly linked to water contamination,” Amy Townsend-Small, a professor of geology at the University of Cincinnati, told the Ohio Times Reporter Saturday. “Some of our highest observed methane concentrations were not near a fracking well at all.”
The researchers sampled water from 23 different wells three or four times per year, from 2012 to February 2015. A total of 191 samples were taken.
“From our assessment, we conclude there are above and below ground mechanisms by which hydraulic fracturing activities have the potential to impact drinking water resources. We did not find evidence that these mechanisms have led to widespread, systemic impacts on drinking water resources in the United States,” stated a five-year study on the impacts of fracking published by the (EPA) in June 2015.
Another 2015 study, this one from Yale University, published in the highly prestigious Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, concluded, “[there is] no evidence of association with deeper brines or long-range migration of these compounds to the shallow aquifers.”
The Yale study, the largest of its kind, sampled 64 private water wells near fracking sites to determine if they could be contaminated by fracking fluids. The Yale researchers found essentially no contamination in well water, and the amounts they did detect were hundreds or thousands of times smaller than can be detected by commercial labs.
“[The chemicals] are likely not a threat to human health,” Brian Drollette, a chemical and environmental engineering graduate student who served as the Yale study’s first author, stated publicly.
Environmentalists have long opposed fracking out of alleged concerns over the safety of drinking water.
Environmentalists responded to these studies with total denial, saying “millions of Americans know that fracking contaminates groundwater and for the EPA to report any differently only proves that the greatest contamination from the industry comes from its influence and ownership of our government.”
Despite the preponderance of evidence, The Sierra Club still claims “fracking has contaminated the drinking water of hundreds of thousands of Americans.”
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