Assessment of the Potential Impacts of Hydraulic Fracturing for Oil and Gas on Drinking Water Resources


[Oil and Gas Journal] The US Environmental Protection Agency released a draft assessment June 4 of a study in which it concluded hydraulic fracturing activities have not led to widespread, systemic impacts on drinking water resources, although the agency said potential water vulnerabilities exist.

“Drinking water may be vulnerable to impacts,” said Thomas A. Burke, EPA’s science advisor and deputy assistant administrator of EPA’s Office of Research and Development. “We feel very confident in our findings…the study was not, nor was it intended to be, a catalog of all instances of contamination.”

The study was intended to help identify vulnerabilities so the nation can take measures to reduce risks and better protect its water, Burke said.

The American Petroleum Institute cited the safety and effectiveness of state and federal regulations along with current industry practices as contributing to the draft assessment’s findings, which will now be reviewed.

“After more than 5 years and millions of dollars, the evidence gathered by EPA confirms what the agency has already acknowledged and what the oil and gas industry has known,” said API Upstream Group Director Erik Milito. “Hydraulic fracturing is being done safely under the strong environmental stewardship of state regulators and industry best practices…”

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