Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, for natural gas has essentially no effect on local water quality, according to a study published Tuesday by scientists at the University of Texas Arlington.
The researchers collected and analyzed private well-water samples in Texas four times over 13 months to monitor water quality. The only contamination they found was “variable and sporadic, not systematic,” according to a press release. The scientists were also quick to specify that the amount of contamination was extremely small and would likely dilute in any aquifer. The study stated that widespread contamination simply wasn’t correlated with drilling times, meaning the it likely isn’t linked to fracking.
The study is just the latest to prove fracking does not contaminate drinking water. Other studies from regulatory bodies, academics, the U.S. Geological Survey and even the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) found no contamination or such low level levels that a large scale impact wouldn’t be possible.
“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.
A three-year study by the University of Cincinnati published in February found that fracking had no effect on water quality in five eastern Ohio counties. The study had been financially supported by environmentalists. “Our funders, the groups that had given us funding in the past, were a little disappointed in our results,” Amy Townsend-Small, the study’s lead researcher, told Newsweek on Saturday. “”We haven’t seen anything to show that wells have been contaminated by fracking.”
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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