Pennsylvania Drinking Water Contaminated

Flammable gases make their way into residents’ water, thanks to fracking

Photo Sasabune Omakase Modified: Flickr/erin/CC 4.0

According to The Telegraph, residents in the Marcellus region of Pennsylvania are at risk for drinking water contaminated by flammable gases.

A study conducted by researchers at Duke University found higher levels of methane, propane, and ethane in water samples from bore holes within a kilometer of shale gas fracking sites.

Although the amounts of gases were not in concentrations large enough to effect health, the mere presence questions the future of drinking water in these areas.

How exactly did these gases get into the drinking water? Many say the process of fracking could be to blame. This process comprises of extracting natural gas from shale wells underground, and injecting water, sand, and chemicals to splinter the rock. Most likely, the propane, ethane, and methane escaped through cracks in the underground gas chambers, or through faults in the cement seal.

Studies have concluded that these leakages are only problematic in certain areas. Although the drinking water is some places is contaminated, other areas undergoing the same fracking process are sterile.

This news has prompted Britain, a country who also employs bore holes to get drinking water, to take into account the areas where drilling coincides with shale should be carefully watched. If the deep gas formation moves completely into the drinking water formation, solutions will need to be created. 

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