New Study Supports Water Contamination Due to Fracking, U.S. Geological Survey Verifies EPA Findings in Pavillion, WY Press Release by Sierra Club and Earthworks, October 3, 2012
An independent analysis of new U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) water monitoring data verifies a 2011 Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) investigation into whether hydraulic fracturing contaminated the Wind River aquifer near Pavillion, Wyoming – an important groundwater source that provides water to thousands of Wyoming residents and farmers. The preliminary results of EPA’s study was one of the first to document hydrocarbons consistent with fracking fluid chemicals in drinking water wells and monitoring wells located near natural gas wells. EPA’s preliminary results have since been attacked by the oil and gas industry, as they seek to continue their dangerous practices and protect their own interests over public health and safety. USGS’s study was conducted specifically to check EPA’s results. The Sierra Club, Earthworks, and the Natural Resources Defense Council worked with a hydrologist and independent expert, Dr. Tom Myers, to analyze the USGS raw data and compare those results with the original EPA report. Dr. Myers found that the USGS data support EPA’s initial findings. EPA’s analysis should be widely accepted now that its findings have been replicated.
The USGS report found that thermogenic gas, which very likely comes from fracked deep shale formations, continues to increase in a monitoring well. This evidence strongly suggests that as a result of fracking, gas is seeping into Pavillion’s water. A range of chemicals associated with the fracking process also continue to appear in the monitoring well, showing that hazardous pollution is spreading towards the surface. This new information supports EPA’s hypothesis that natural gas drilling activities, including fracking, have contaminated the Wind River aquifer near Pavillion.