New data, but not much new in Wyo. fracking study

New data, but not much new in Wyo. fracking study by Mead Gruver, Associated Press, September 27, 2012, Seattlepi
The Pavillion field has shallow gas and geology much different from other gas fields. Fracking occurred unusually close to home water wells, and the EPA has said that any findings in the area shouldn’t be applied to fracking in general. Even so, Pavillion now is widely associated — maybe permanently — with fracking.  … One hydrogeologist said he didn’t see much from which to draw conclusions. “These groundwater investigations are kind of a tricky business. You don’t always get these super-conclusive results with, you know, just a couple rounds of sampling from two wells,” said David Yoxtheimer, an extension associate for Penn State’s Marcellus Initiative for Outreach and Research. “When you’ve got two wells, you really are just kind of scratching the surface. You really aren’t able to determine too much. You might be able to detect the contaminants, but from there you need to expand your investigation.” … Encana has been critical of how the EPA drilled its two wells. Now, it is critical that one of the wells wasn’t reliable. “They couldn’t get a good sample because it was so poorly constructed,” company spokesman Doug Hock said. “That well really needs to be abandoned and should not be used for further study because it’s not a good well.” The data don’t contain any surprises, said Encana chemist John Gardner, but do show lower potassium levels and pH and potassium levels. Previously, the EPA had pointed to unusually high pH and the detection of potassium hydroxide, a basic chemical used in fracking, in suggesting that fracking had affected the groundwater tested.

The pH of water tested hadn’t declined by much, said Tom Myers, a Reno, Nev., hydrologic consultant for the NRDC, and much of the other data was similar to before. “There’s nothing in this resampling that suggests what they found in December is wrong. It more or less supports that,” Myers said. “I would say that the status quo is maintained.” [Emphasis added]

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