EPA Study of Fracking Finds 'No Widespread, Systemic' Pollution


Water Protection

On 4th June the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released its long-awaited "Draft Assessment on the Potential Impacts to Drinking Water Resources from Hydraulic Fracturing Activities". The draft study comes in response to a congressional request five years ago that the agency look into potential concerns about drinking water supplies. (Weblink)

From the Executive Summary:

"Through this national-level assessment, we have identified potential mechanisms by which hydraulic fracturing could affect drinking water resources. [...] We did not find evidence that these mechanisms have led to widespread, systemic impacts on drinking water resources in the United States. [...] The number of identified cases where drinking water resources were impacted are small relative to the number of hydraulically fractured wells. This could reflect a rarity of effects on drinking water resources, or may be an underestimate as a result of several factors. There is insufficient pre- and post-hydraulic fracturing data on the quality of drinking water resources. This inhibits a determination of the frequency of impacts. Other limiting factors include the presence of other causes of contamination, the short duration of existing studies, and inaccessible information related to hydraulic fracturing activities."

The EPA Science Advisory Board will now conduct a peer review of the study. Public comments submitted for consideration by the EPA Science Advisory Board for the review can be submitted and viewed here. (Weblink)

Also released were nine peer-reviewed EPA scientific reports. These reports were a part of EPA’s overall hydraulic fracturing drinking water study and contributed to the findings outlined in the draft assessment. (Weblink)

The study had been critizised earlier this year for suffering from influence by industry. (Weblink) However, EPA stated that it had a "generally very cooperative relationship with industry" and said he didn't think the limitations were "an issue of cooperation from industry." (Weblink

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EPA Study of Fracking Finds 'No Widespread, Systemic' Pollution