Texas: Hydraulic Fracturing Stimulation contaminating drinking water, 25 per cent of water wells tested by Dr. Zack Hildenbrand show contamination with man-made chemicals used in fracking the Eagle Ford: “This practice is having an affect”

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“This practice is having an affect”

Trouble Shooters get exclusive access to water test results in Eagle Ford Shale by April Molina, November 12, 2015, News 4 San Antonio

Jimmy Stevens has lived in Wilson County for more than fifty years.

He is one of 80 private well owners who agreed to allow research scientist, Dr. Zack Hildenbrand to test his water.

“The main worry and concern with it is always the drinking water,” Stevens said. “Whenever they drill that deep and go that fast and do what they do to get the oil out and make it work, there’s always a danger.”

“We characterized the water for forty different chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing, twenty different metals and minerals and also some anions,” Hildenbrand said.

60 of the 80 samples collected in the South Texas Region revealed healthy ground water, but according to Hildenbrand, the other 25 percent of the samples were indicative of brominated gasoline.

“These are samples that had very little chloride in them, but very high levels of bromide and they were each coming from different layers of different aquifers,” Hildenbrand said. “One thing that was consistent is that almost exclusively those were found within one kilometer of the drilling sites.”

He also explained there were a few occurrences of volatile organic compounds in the water.

“These are relatively deleterious compounds, things like cyclohexanone,” Hildenbrand said. “Cyclohexanone is not something that should be naturally occurring and it’s not something that you would want in your water.”

Prior to testing the water in South Texas, Hildenbrand wrapped up a larger scale study in the Barnett Shale with his University of Texas at Arlington research team.

“What we found is the closer people’s water wells got to gas wells that had been stimulated by hydraulic fracturing, the concentrations of arsenic, selenium, strontium, and barium went up quite significantly,” Hildenbrand said.

Hildenbrand would like to be able to make direct links to specific drilling operations, but explained his hands are tied because the oil and gas companies, by law, don’t have to disclose which chemicals they are using.

The results from this study are considered preliminary as they have not yet gone through peer review.

Once final interpretations come back, the results may or may not be published. [Emphasis added]

[Refer also to:

2015 05 19: Drinking water contamination in Kneehill County, Alberta! Toxic Selenium and Uranium found in private water wells; Metals testing not mandatory before fracing, waste dumping and injection, not even when companies frac into drinking water aquifers

2014 08 04: Scientists Find ‘Alarming’ Amount Of Arsenic In Groundwater Near Texas Fracking Sites; New perspectives on the effects of natural gas extraction on groundwater quality

… That boom started about 10 years ago, and the University of Texas researchers compared their results with previous water tests conducted before that boom. What they found was what researcher Zacariah Hildenbrand called an “alarming” increase in the amount of arsenic and other heavy metals in 30 percent of the groundwater wells within 1.8 miles of gas drilling sites.

“This is indirect evidence that drilling does affect the water,” Hildenbrand said. [Emphasis added]

New perspectives on the effects of natural gas extraction on groundwater quality by Zacariah L. Hildenbrand, Brian E. Fontenot, Doug D. Carlton Jr and Kevin A. Schug, all at The University of Texas at Arlington, United States, May 24, 2014, in Global Water, Issues and Insights by R. Quentin Grafton, Paul Wyrwoll, Chris White and David Allendes, May 2014

ISBN 9781925021660 (Print version)
ISBN 9781925021677 (Online)

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