EPA Study Confirms Fracking Affects Drinking Water

In June the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that fracking does pollute drinking water, with the release of the draft final version of its study of Hydraulic Fracturing for Oil and Gas and Its Potential Impact on Drinking Water Resources.

Congress commissioned the study in 2010 in response to increasing public questions about the risks posed to drinking water by the unconventional oil and gas boom. In 2004, an EPA study concluded that hydraulic fracturing does not threaten drinking water. From that conclusion, Congress exempted fracking from the Safe Drinking Water Act. The current study was intended to revisit the conclusions of the 2004 study. “Today EPA confirmed what communities living with fracking have known for years, fracking pollutes drinking water,” said Earthworks Policy Director Lauren Pagel. She continued, “Now the Obama administration, Congress, and state governments must act on that information to protect our drinking water, and stop perpetuating the oil and gas industry’s myth that fracking is safe.” EPA’s conclusions in the most recent report were based on new case studies and found several contamination pathways and vulnerabilities, including well failures and blowouts, toxic surface spills to ground and surface water, and inadequately treated wastewater.