Finally the EPA to Study Contamination from Gas Well Fracking

Recently reported in this article by Dow Jones Newswires in Fox News

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Thursday launched a study to determine whether a key oil and natural gas production technique called hydraulic fracturing is contaminating water supplies.

While environmentalists are concerned that the process may be causing groundwater contamination and are calling for federal oversight, the industry says there is no proof and it is already adequately regulated.

At issue are new natural-gas reservoirs deep below the earth’s surface that companies such as Chesapeake Energy Corp. (CHK: 23.76, 0, 0%) and XTO Energy Inc. (XTO: 47.5, 0, 0%) say could multiply the available domestic reserves of a resource that has a fraction of the greenhouse-gas emissions of its fossil fuel cousins, coal and oil.

“Our research will be designed to answer questions about the potential impact of hydraulic fracturing on human health and the environment,” said Paul Anastas, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Research and Development. “The study will be conducted through a transparent, peer-reviewed process, with significant stakeholder input,” he said in a statement.

Facing increasing pressure from some Democratic lawmakers and environmentalists, the EPA said in its proposed budget earlier this year it planned to conduct a study of the process.

Previous studies by the EPA–including one review of the process for coalbed methane extraction at much shallower levels–haven’t found hydraulic fracturing carries a risk of water contamination.

Although the states regulate the actual process of hydraulic fracturing–known as fracking–the EPA already regulates the waste-water systems that either re-inject it into reservoirs or send it to waste-treatment facilities.

Last month, Steve Heare, director of the EPA’s Drinking Water Protection Division, said at a conference he hadn’t seen any documented cases that the fracking process was contaminating water supplies.

Bill Kappel, a U.S. Geological Survey official, said at the same conference that contamination of water supplies is more likely to happen as companies process the waste water from hydrofracking. In some instances, municipal water systems that treat the water have reported higher levels of heavy metals and radioactivity.

“Treatment of the [waste] water hasn’t caught up with the hydrofracking technology,” Kappel said.

Although legislation in the House and Senate to bring greater federal oversight of the hydrofracking process hasn’t gained momentum, Heare said even if such proposals are approved, it wouldn’t likely have a dramatic effect on regulation. States would still have the right under the Safe Drinking Water Act to use their own regulatory standards.

If you have had an experiences with your water well being contaminated by hydraulic fracturing or as it is better known as “fracking” please post your comments here and by all means contact the EPA. The problem with fracking is that there are chemicals used by the oil and gas industry that they do not disclose.

In this area of Southern Colorado our ground water is from underground streams, cracks and fizzures, anything underground that will hold water, and if your water well is connected to the source that they are fracking then these chemicals will be in your water well immediately, not next year or 20 years from now. And since our water wells for drinking water are not tested on a daily or frequent basis we could be drinking contaminated water for a long time before we realize it.

The common rebuttal is that the gas wells are not in the same under ground streams as our drinking water but yet there are cases of domestic water wells having their covers blown off and water spewing out of them for a day or two at a time while they were drilling a gas well a quarter of a mile or more away. They are connected in many ways and there is no one protecting us from this contamination, seems that everyone is looking the other way.

It’s time that this stopped and that the extraction of methane gas be done in a more responsible manner so that we are not looking back in a few years and regretting what has happened. We need the Oil and Gas to be good neighbors and to be proactive in protecting those of us that live where they are drilling.

Water is too precious and we all know how precious it is in Colorado yet every day millions of gallons of water just in the western part of Las Animas County are removed from the ground and disposed of. Any idea on how long it will take to replenish that ground water? Not to mention the saline and other high concentrations of dissolved solids and minerals that are being brought to the surface in addition to the chemicals used in fracking.

The consensus should be that you can take the gas that you have the rights too but you can not contaminate or remove our water or put your gas wells in our best or only building sites or have noisy generators running 24/7 next to our homes. It’s already too late for many that live here but it’s time to stop and do what is right. And what is right is not just about how much money can be made as the gas companies “Rape the Oil Field” in our backyard.