A new study suggests that the contamination of drinking water by shale gas is due to faulty wells and not hydraulic fracturing. Researchers in the US analysed the gas content in 130 water wells in Pennsylvania and Texas and were able to trace the methane found in the water to problems with the casing or lining of wells drilled to extract the gas.
In many parts of the US, the migration of gas into drinking water has raised questions about the fracking process. Previous research has detailed the scale of these difficulties without arriving at a satisfactory explanation of how the gas got into the water. This new study focussed on areas which were well known for elevated levels of methane in drinking wells. The full BBC report can be read here.
Envireau Water has entered the debate before about the risks to drinking water supplies posed by hydraulic fracturing or ‘fracking’ and supports the findings of this research. In a recent bulletin from Envireau Water Managing Director, James Dodds, he outlines well casing failure as the only realistic chance of pollution to groundwater. These risks are mitigated in the UK as, in recognition of the severity of the potential impacts a well casing failure could have, the design and construction of shale gas wells is carefully regulated by the HSE and the Offshore Installations and Wells Regulations, making the risk of a catastrophic failure essentially zero.
You can read James’ bulletin here.