Does “Fracking” Affect My Drinking Water?

What is Fracking?

“Fracking,” also known as “hydraulic fracturing,” and ‘fracturing” is a well stimulation process where a mixture of water, sand, some chemicals and possibly other material are injected by high pressure through well casings deep into the earth to break up rock formations in order to release petroleum and natural gas.

Fracking has been around since the late 1940s and has been met with considerable controversy over the years.

Many people have not heard of “fracking,” while many others report that their drinking water has been contaminated because of fracking.

I thought this issue to be sufficiently important that consumers should, at least be aware of the process, and the fact that all the evidence is not in on its impact to drinking water resources.

There have been complaints by some consumers who believe that “fracking” has caused pollution of their drinking water.  Some have even shown that their drinking water can catch fire, they believe caused by nearby fracking.

There has been much study on “fracking” over the years.  It is still ongoing and there is no definitive fact or evidence that satisfies both sides of the issue.  However both the EPA and industry are working on the issue.

EPA’s Draft Report

In 2015, the EPA released a draft report on their five year study on hydraulic fracturing and if the fracturing pollutes drinking water.

The report found no evidence of widespread impacts on drinking water, reporting only occasional contamination.  However, the report summary said that the investigation did determine that hydraulic fracturing does have a “potential” for impacting drinking water resources.

Some Scientists Show Opposition to the EPA Report

Then comes the agency’s science advisors who have questioned the validity of the report, saying it was comprehensive but lacking in several areas.

The science advisors, made up of 30 representatives from academia, the government and industrial science sector also recommended the EPA report be updated with “quantitative analysis that supports its conclusion.”  Four members of the panel dissented, while the other 26 agreed the study was incomplete.

Petroleum Industry Supports the EPA Report

The American Petroleum Institute released a statement challenging the science advisory panel’s assertion and pointed to the years of scientific research that went into the agency’s draft report as proof the studies are complete and correct.

I don’t know if “fracking” has a direct negative impact on drinking water or not.  However, the question still hangs there.  It is another indication and testimonial for me that there are so many actual or potential assaults on our drinking water, including hundreds of potential contaminants, we, all of us, should be filtering our drinking water at the point of use.  I do.


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