More Research is Needed to Understand Fracking’s Water Quality Risks: USGS

Assessment of Surface Water Chloride and Conductivity Trends in Areas of Unconventional Oil and Gas Development — Why Existing National Data Sets Cannot Tell Us What We Would Like to Know
Water Resources Research (Jan. 2015, v51 n1 p704–715; DOI: 10.1002/2014WR016382) / by Zachary H. Bowen, et al. [This ReadCube document is readable but not downloadable or printable, except for subscribers.]

[Oil and Gas Journal] More data and research will be necessary to better understand potential water-quality risks associated with US unconventional oil and gas resource development, a recent US Geological Survey study concluded.

“We mined the national water-quality databases from 1970-2010 and were able to assess long-term trends in only 16% of the watersheds with unconventional oil and gas resources,” said Zachary H. Bowen, a USGS scientist and principal author of the article, which appears in the American Geophysical Union’s Water Resources Research.

“There are not enough data available to be able to assess potential effects of oil and gas development over large geographic areas,” said Bowen, who works in the Ecosystems Dynamics Branch at USGS’s Fort Collins, Colo., Science Center.

The researchers used existing USGS and US Environmental Protection Agency data sets to increase understanding of spatial distribution of US unconventional oil and gas development, and broadly assess surface water quality trends in these areas…


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