There is a bit more evidence suggesting fracking in Wyoming is polluting groundwater near the town of Pavilion, as U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) water quality sampling shows similar results as an earlier Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) study.
The 2011 EPA sampling was one of the first to document hydrocarbons consistent with fracking fluid chemicals in drinking water wells and monitoring wells located near natural gas wells.
The latest USGS study checked the EPA’s results, even as the oil and gas industry continue to question the results. Environmental advocates accuse the industry of protecting their economic interests at the expense of public health and safety.
To try and interpret the raw sampling data, the Sierra Club, Earthworks, and the Natural Resources Defense Council worked with a hydrologist and independent expert. Dr. Tom Myers found the USGS data support EPA’s initial findings.
“Dr. Myers’ analysis shows that the USGS upholds EPA’s preliminary conclusion that hydraulic fracturing contaminated Pavillion-area groundwater,” said Bruce Baizel, Earthworks’ Oil & Gas Accountability Project senior staff attorney. “It’s long past time for states and industry to stop denying oil and gas development’s environmental problems, and start working on fixing them.”
The USGS report found thermogenic gas, which very likely comes from fracked deep shale formations, continues to increase in a monitoring well. This evidence strongly suggests as a result of fracking, gas is seeping into Pavillion’s water.
Chemicals associated with the fracking process also continue to appear in the monitoring well, showing that hazardous pollution is spreading towards the surface. This new information supports EPA’s hypothesis that natural gas drilling activities, including fracking, have contaminated the Wind River aquifer near Pavillion.