New Study Predicts Frack Fluids Can Migrate to Aquifers Within Years

Major news outlets such as Bloomberg News, Business Week and Propublica are reporting on a game changing peer reviewed study commissioned by Catskill Mountainkeeper that predicts frack fluids can migrate into aquifers, directly contradicting the claims by the gas industry that these toxic chemicals will stay underground forever.

The new peer-reviewed study by hydrogeologist and researcherTom Myers, “Potential Contaminant Pathways from Hydraulically Fractured Shale to Aquifers” published in the current issue of Ground Water, demonstrates that fluids from highly-pressurized gas drilling activities can migrate from deep subsurface layers of shale to shallow aquifers and surface waters, bringing along polluting gases, chemicals, and radioactivity. The study, based on computer modeling of pressure waves, rock characteristics, and fluid mobilization in natural and induced fissures, offers an explanatory mechanism for previous reports of contamination of wells by deep shale methane in and around Dimock, Pennsylvania. The study accords with detailed fracture maps produced by structural geologist Robert Jacobi, showing extensive fracturing of deep bedrock, including shale layers in the Catskills and across New York State.
Hydrofracking and other high-pressurized drilling activities seek to exploit natural and induced fractures in order to release methane gas, but migration of contaminated gas and fluids through rock fissures cannot be managed or controlled, making slow contamination of aquifers and water resources – over time frames as short as one year – extremely likely in areas of intensive drilling activity. This threat from deep level contamination therefore points to risks inherent in high pressure drilling activities and adds a level of threat to human and animal health beyond that of poorly drilled wells and dissolving cement sheaths and casings, already well-accepted as mechanisms by which drilling activities can ruin water sources.

Read the Propublica Story Here

Read the Bloomberg/Business Week Story Here

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