Study: No Link Between Fracking & Contamination

AUSTIN (CBSDFW.COM/AP) – A University of Texas study says there’s no direct link between groundwater contamination and a controversial process to extract oil and gas known as fracking.

UT’s Energy Institute says contamination can occur due to spills above ground or mishandling of wastewater. But the institute argues that those problems are not caused directly by fracking.

Fracking involves pumping pressurized water, sand and chemicals underground to open fissures and improve the flow of oil and gas to the surface. It’s used to improve productivity in gas reserves all over the U.S., including the Barnett Shale in North Texas.

For years environmentalists have decried the millions of gallons used each time natural gas-containing shale rock deep inside the earth is split open with it. This is exacerbated, they say, as water becomes more of a commodity during what has been the worst drought in Texas history.

Residents and housing associations near drilling sites point to chemical additives in the treated water as the reason why some families can set their tap water aflame.

Meanwhile, experts tout the process of fracking as a relatively cheap, safe way to harvest natural gas that powers homes across the nation.

An Energy Institute spokesman says no industry funds paid for the project. Fracking opponents say the study needs to be reviewed.

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(©2012 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

  • NiteNurse

    I feel that the study has to be wrong. It’s not natural to be able to take a lighter and set tap water on fire. How can you not have chemicals leech into the water table? If that study was right then we should be able to pour gasoline, waste chemicals, and other dangerous chemicals directly on the ground. Would you drink water that’s flammable???

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  • Brandon

    NiteNurse, did you read the article? It said that problems occur from chemicals spilled onto the ground. Fracking occurs over a mile underground, well below the water tables.

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  • Jessica

    The mishandling of chemicals are a result of the fracking process, whether or not it is a direct result. I will believe fracking is safe when it occurs in wealthy neighborhoods.

  • Jeff Phillips

    Lets see..before fracking no water on fire..after fracking started we now have flammable water. It’s a no brainer of course fracking had nothing to do with it. *sarcasm*

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