Study: No Evidence of Groundwater Contamination From Fracking

June 11, 2018

A University of Cincinnati study found no evidence of groundwater contamination from recent oil and natural gas drilling in several Appalachian counties in eastern Ohio.

Geologists from UC examined drinking water in five counties — Carroll, Harrison, Stark, Belmont and Columbiana — where many residents rely on private underground wells for their water needs. The geologists hypothesized that methane concentrations would increase as the number of shale gas wells in the study area increased. The results, however, showed the opposite.

Claire Botner, the research assistant for the study, called the results reassuring.

“At the time, I think it was great that it showed their groundwater is clean,” she said. “And as we sampled more and more, it reaffirmed it.”

The study is the first of its kind in Ohio to analyze whether the hydraulic fracturing process — also known as “fracking” — creates high levels of methane in well water. The results were published in the journal Environmental Monitoring and Assessment.

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