Four Scientific Studies of Water Contamination by Fracking

There is a lot of spin out there on whether fracking operations and wastewater storage cause water contamination. But there is only one truth. It either does, or it doesn’t.

Below, you will find four recent scientific studies done by institutions of repute that present clear evidence fracking operations cause water pollution. They are a little dense and hard to read — after all, they’re peer-reviewed, academic scientific works. That said, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see the toxic chemicals used in fracking are leaking into groundwater.

When fossil fuel extraction corporations push propaganda saying there is “no scientific proof” of water contamination from fracking, you can bookmark this link to share. We’ll try to keep it updated with new reports of water contamination as much-suppressed scientific studies are finally starting to take place more regularly, thanks to growing momentum on a national fracking ban.

Oil and gas wastewater disposal may harm West Virginia waterways

April 7, 2016 • University of Missouri-Colombia

“Studies have centered on potential water pollution from this process that may increase endocrine disrupting chemicals in surface and ground water. Now, researchers report high levels of EDC activity in the surface water near a hydraulic fracturing wastewater disposal facility in West Virginia.”

Impact to Underground Sources of Drinking Water and Domestic Wells from Production Well Stimulation and Completion Practices in the Pavillion, Wyoming, Field

March 29, 2016 • Environmental Science & Technology

“Detection of organic compounds used for well stimulation in samples from two monitoring wells installed by EPA, plus anomalies in major ion concentrations in water from one of these monitoring wells, provide additional evidence of impact to USDWs and indicate upward solute migration to depths of current groundwater use. Detections of diesel range organics and other organic compounds in domestic wells <600 m from unlined pits used prior to the mid-1990s to dispose diesel-fuel based drilling mud and production fluids suggest impact to domestic wells as a result of legacy pit disposal practices."

Canadian authorities: Fracking operation contaminated groundwater (study unavailable; news link)

December 21, 2014 • Canadian Energy Resources Conservation Board

“The concentrations of chloride has decreased from the February 2012 sample, but remains elevated. Benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylene (BTEX) concentrations remained unchanged between the February and September 2012 sampling events. The petroleum hydrocarbon (PHC) fractions F2 through F4 concentrations overall decreased (with the PHC fraction F1 showing an anomalous increase).”

Increased stray gas abundance in a subset of drinking water wells near Marcellus shale gas extraction

June 25, 2013 • Proceedings of the National Academy of Scientists

“Overall, our data suggest that some homeowners living <1 km from gas wells have drinking water contaminated with stray gases.”