EPA Finds No Link Between Fracking And Water Contamination In Pennsylvania

fracking_water

One of the oft-repeated claims of the environmental hysterics opposing hydraulic fracturing is that it contaminates drinking water. A small town called Dimock in Pennsylvania, which resides in the middle of that state’s shale gas boom, became the epicenter for these claims after it was featured in a film called Gasland made by anti-fracking activists.

Among other things, Dimock residents were shown lighting their tap water on fire.

But the EPA has gone to Dimock, and conducted extensive testing, and you know what they found? No water contamination (via Bruce Oksol):

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said drinking water is safe to consume in a small Pennsylvania town that has attracted national attention after residents complained about hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, for natural gas.

The EPA has tested water at 61 homes in Dimock, Pennsylvania, where residents have complained since 2009 of cloudy, foul-smelling water after Cabot Oil & Gas Corp drilled for gas nearby.

“This set of sampling did not show levels of contaminants that would give EPA reason to take further action,” Roy Seneca, a spokesman for the regional EPA office, said about the final set of data released Friday. The agency released data for only 59 of the homes as they could not contact residents at two of them.

This outcome isn’t surprising. As earlier studies have shown, below roughly 1,000 feet the chance of unintentional cracking from hydraulic fracturing drops to less than 1%.

The average Marcellus shale drilling well ranges from 3,000 feet deep to 9,000 feet deep. In North Dakota’s Bakken oil fields, the best producing wells average 10,000 – 11,000 feet deep, with the minimum depth being around 9,000 feet.

According to the USGS, the average water well is about 1,000 feet deep.

The odds of fracking resulting in contaminated water are almost non-existent. Add in regular water quality screenings, and the chances of a community drinking contaminated water are astronomical.

Fracking is safe. The environmentalists just want you to believe otherwise.

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Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com. In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters. He writes a weekly column for several North Dakota newspapers, and also serves as a policy fellow for the North Dakota Policy Council.

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