Hydraulic fracturing contaminating drinking water is concern to Lubbock community

Methane found in drinking across U.S. brings concern to the Lubbock community, Hydraulic fracturing contaminating the drinking water is a concern to the Lubbock community by Ariel Kirkland, October 19, 2012, Avalanche Journal
The city of Lubbock held its monthly Board of Health meeting Friday afternoon at the Civic Center to discuss the updates on hydraulic fracturing. Board member Anne Epstein said studies have shown that methane has been found in drinking water in different areas of the U.S. “After we were reviewing these studies, we did find what I consider sufficient, scientific grounds for serious concerns,” Epstein said. “There has been some strong, scientific evidence for groundwater contamination coming from these studies.”

The natural gas shale and oil shale are usually more than 1,000 feet below the groundwater sources. Hearing something like this would usually be reassuring to most people since the distance between the shale and groundwater seem far enough to avoid contamination. Unfortunately, after new data was released, it has been proven that even 1,000 feet below groundwater doesn’t mean drinking water is safe, she said. Last year board member Ted Reid shared the activists’ concerns, citing a 2011 National Academy of Sciences study of water sources near northeastern Pennsylvania hydraulic fracturing wells. Those studies showed an increase in methane levels were detected in underground water sources closer to the fracturing locations and contamination from fracturing wells into nearby water sources. “New data shows that methane from shale that comes 1,000 feet below drinking water was found to be contaminating drinking water,” Epstein said. “This doesn’t establish that it will happen in Lubbock, but it does pass down on what we thought was a very reassuring distance between the shale and groundwater.”

Jeff Bertl, regional director of Lubbock’s Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, says they have not had any previous reports from the city of Lubbock on methane contamination in the past. [Emphasis added]

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