Hydraulic fracking can impact drinking water resources under “some
circumstances,” according to a new report from the U.S. Environmental Protection
Hydraulic fracturing, commonly referred to as “fracking,” is a technique used to
increase oil or gas production from underground rock formations. A fluid, commonly
made of water, chemicals and sand, is injected under pressures great enough to
fracture the oil- and gas-producing formations.
During any stage of the fracking process, drinking water has the potential to be
affected, reports The Washington Post based on the EPA’s findings.
Some combinations of hydraulic fracturing activities and local- or regional-scale
factors have greater potential for a more frequent or severe impact than others.
One such example, the report notes, would be a spill during the management of
hydraulic fracturing fluids and chemicals or produced water that results in large
volumes or high concentrations of chemicals reaching groundwater resources.
The severity of the impacts ranged from short-term water quality issues to total
contamination of drinking water wells.
The EPA states that “data gaps and uncertainties” limit its abilities to fully assess
the potential impacts of fracking on drinking water resources locally and nationally.
To compile this report, the EPA conducted independent research, engaged
stakeholders through technical workshops and roundtables, and reviewed
approximately 1,200 cited sources of data and information.
United States Environmental Protection Agency
The Washington Post