Facing South
Facing South

New evidence confirms that fracking endangers groundwater

The U.S. Geological Survey released two reports this week confirming that fracking for natural gas has led to groundwater contamination -- a fact that has been contested by the industry.

The USGS results are consistent with earlier findings by the Environmental Protection Agency that contamination from fracking had seeped into monitoring wells near gas drilling operations in Pavillion, Wyo., a rural community within the Wind River Indian Reservation. The contaminants detected include methane, ethane, diesel compounds and phenol, a known neurotoxin.

The driller involved in the operations being monitoring is Encana, a Canadian company that is one of North America's largest natural gas producers. Its U.S. subsidiary operates in Colorado, Louisiana and Texas as well as Wyoming.

Released last December, the EPA's draft report on the Pavillion wells was the first time the U.S. government linked fracking to groundwater contamination.

Encana has argued that the contaminants are naturally occurring. However, Rob Jackson, an environmental scientist at Duke University in Durham, N.C., told Bloomberg News that the stray gas concentrations are very high, which "suggests a fossil-fuel source for the gases."

The findings have important implications for North Carolina, where regulators are just beginning to write rules governing the controversial drilling practice. Today the state's Mining and Energy Commission meets to choose a chair, and Lee County Commissioner Jim Womack, the frontrunner for the job, recently dismissed concerns that fracking endangers the state's water supplies, WRAL reports:

"You’re more likely to have a meteorite fall from the sky and hit you on the head than you are to contaminate groundwater with fracking fluid percolating up from under the ground. It hasn’t happened."

The EPA has advised residents in the Pavillion area against using their well water for cooking or drinking.

(Photo of EPA sampling water in Pavillion in January 2010 from EPA website.)

Facing South
Facing South
Appreciate this post? Please donate & share below.
Reddit »

People Referenced:


You might want to check out

You might want to check out some of these links for more information:



Many more links on MADION facebook page and at www.madion.org

Hmmm High Pressure chemicals contaminate water supply: No braine

I'm wondering why we need to go way out west, when all we've been hearing is fracking in New York, Pennsylvania, and now this pathetic grab for the thin slice of NC that can be fraked... Why can't the USGS test the many wells here? Seems like the cost of repeating the tests, the number of labs nearby, the number of testing firms and academics would all be higher in the East than in the Wild Wild West!


GOOD REPORTING SUE, This is a complicated story I'm
very interested in. Howard Romaine www.tntribune.com,
graduate LSU, former editor, Mineral Law Institute

Post new comment

You may enter comments here to publicly respond to this article. If you are having trouble posting your comment, please contact help@southernstudies.org.
The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.