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Report: Fracking Chemicals Didn't Taint Water
Written by Your 5News Team
Last updated on July 25, 2013 @ 11:50AM
Created on July 24, 2013 @ 5:47PM

It looks there might be some answers to the question, is the process of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, safe for the environment? CBS News is reporting that a landmark federal study on hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, shows no evidence that chemicals from the natural gas drilling process moved up to contaminate drinking water aquifers at a western Pennsylvania drilling site, the Department of Energy told The Associated Press.

After a year of monitoring, the researchers found that the chemical-laced fluids used to free gas trapped deep below the surface stayed thousands of feet below the shallower areas that supply drinking water, geologist Richard Hammack said.
Fracking takes place when chemically laced fluids are used to free gas trapped under the surface.
Drilling fluids tagged with unique markers were injected more than 8,000 feet below the surface, but were not detected in a monitoring zone 3,000 feet higher. That means the potentially dangerous substances stayed about a mile away from drinking water supplies.

The study, done by the National Energy Technology Laboratory in Pittsburgh, marked the first time that a drilling company let government scientists inject special tracers into the fracking fluid and then continue regular monitoring to see whether it spread toward drinking water sources. The research is being done at a drilling site in Greene County, which is southwest of Pittsburgh and adjacent to West Virginia.

Nicole Walls, a Cheat Lake resident, told 5 News the study is good news for the natural gas industry. However, she said she would like to see more studies like this done before she decides if fracking is safe for the environment.

"There has been studies on a lot of different things that we hear about all of the time," she said. "You can't always justify them because its the federal government (who put it together), but I do take a little more credence towards it.

Although the results are preliminary -- the study is still ongoing -- they are a boost to a natural gas industry that has fought complaints from environmental groups and property owners who call fracking dangerous.

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