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EPA Finds Little Risk to Drinking Water from Fracking

by Kenneth E. DuBose on June 9, 2015

Hydraulic fracking has very little impact on drinking water resources, according to a recently released study by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Related: 2011 UT Study shows fracking doesn’t contaminate drinking water

The EPA has been working for years to analyze the available scientific data to determine whether fracturing for oil and gas changes the quality or quantity of drinking water resources. The findings, released June 6th, are designed to be used by government officials, industry leaders and the public to better understand the facts and address any vulnerabilities inherent in the practice of fracking.

According to the study, there are certain fracking activities that have the potential to impact drinking water resources including,

  1. Water withdrawals in times of, or in areas with, low water availability

  2. Spills of hydraulic fracturing fluids and produced water

  3. Fracturing directly into underground drinking water resources

  4. Below ground migration of liquids and gases

  5. Inadequate treatment and discharge of wastewater

While there is potential for problems, the EPA found no evidence that these activities have led to widespread, systemic impacts on drinking water in the United States. Where there have been issues of contamination, the the number has been very small compared to the number of hydraulically fractured wells.


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