A study by Duke University researchers has found high levels of leaked methane in well water collected near shale-gas drilling and hydrofracking sites. The scientists collected and analyzed water samples from 68 private groundwater wells across five counties in northeastern Pennsylvania and New York.
“At least some of the homeowners who claim that their wells were contaminated by shale-gas extraction appear to be right,” says Robert B. Jackson, Nicholas Professor of Global Environmental Change and director of Duke’s Center on Global Change.
Hydraulic fracturing, also called hydrofracking or fracking, involves pumping water, sand and chemicals deep underground into horizontal gas wells at high pressure to crack open hydrocarbon-rich shale and extract natural gas.
The study found no evidence of contamination from chemical-laden fracking fluids, which are injected into gas wells to help break up shale deposits, or from “produced water,” wastewater that is extracted back out of the wells after the shale has been fractured.
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