The drilling procedure called fracking didn't cause much-publicized cases of tainted groundwater in areas of Pennsylvania and Texas, a new study finds. Instead, it blames the contamination on problems in pipes and seals in natural gas wells.
After looking at dozens of cases of suspected contamination, the scientists focused on eight hydraulically fractured wells in those states, where they chemically linked the tainted water to the gas wells. They then used chemical analysis to figure out when in the process of gas extraction methane leaked into groundwater. "We found the evidence suggested that fracking was not to blame, that it was actually a well integrity issue," said Ohio State University geochemist Thomas Darrah, lead author of the study. He said those results are good news because that type of contamination problem is easier to fix and is more preventable. The work was released Monday by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
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