UPDATE: WFAA report, ‘Alarming’ study shows dangerous water along Barnett Shale
“We found way more contamination in areas that have been heavily drilled,” said biochemist Zachariah Hildenbrand. “A lot of these compounds are drilling-specific. There are some pretty telltale signs.
Fracking water pollution is widespread in North Texas
A comprehensive study of potential groundwater pollution from “unconventional oil and gas drilling” found widespread pollution in North Texas private and public drinking water.
The UT Arlington team tested 550 water samples collected from public and private water wells in North Texas’ Barnett Shale region over the past three years. It found elevated levels of 10 different metals as well as the presence of 19 different chemicals compounds including so-called BTEX (benzene, toluene, ethyl benzene and xylenes) compounds associated with hydraulic fracturing. The study also found elevated levels of methanol and ethanol. Source
The exploration of unconventional shale energy reserves and the extensive use of hydraulic fracturing during well stimulation have raised concerns about the potential effects of unconventional oil and gas extraction (UOG) on the environment. Most accounts of groundwater contamination have focused primarily on the compositional analysis of dissolved gases to address whether UOG activities have had deleterious effects on overlying aquifers. Here, we present an analysis of 550 groundwater samples collected from private and public supply water wells drawing from aquifers overlying the Barnett shale formation of Texas. We detected multiple volatile organic carbon compounds throughout the region, including various alcohols, the BTEX family of compounds, and several chlorinated compounds. These data do not necessarily identify UOG activities as the source of contamination; however, they do provide a strong impetus for further monitoring and analysis of groundwater quality in this region as many of the compounds we detected are known to be associated with UOG techniques.
Nuggets from the study
- analysis of 550 groundwater samples collected from private and public supply water wells drawing from aquifers overlying the Barnett shale formation of Texas.
- multiple volatile organic carbon compounds throughout the region, including various
61 alcohols, the BTEX family of compounds, and several chlorinated compounds.
- elevated levels of 10 different metals and the presence of 117 different chemical compounds, including benzene, toluene, ethyl benzene and xylene (BTEX).
- 350 samples came from private wells serving residential purposes
- 59 samples came from agricultural water wells
- 141 samples came from 152 municipal or public water supply wells servicing communities throughout the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex.
- methanol and/or ethanol were detected in 35 and 240 wells respectively. Methanol and ethanol both are used extensively in unconventional drilling as anti-corrosive agents and gelling agents.
- Dichloromethane (DCM) was detected in 122 samples. [DCM is an industrial solvent that has been detected in air samples and flowback in fracking areas.]
- “At least one of the BTEX (benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and xylene) class of compounds was detected in 381 of 550 collected samples, and 10 wells had detectable amounts of all four BTEX compounds.”
- “Toluene, ethylbenzene, and three xylene isomers were also found to be prevalent throughout the Trinity and Woodbine aquifers.”
- “Cyclohexane was also detected in 221 of the 550 collected samples”
You need to read the whole study to get the complete picture of all the above bullets.