Natural gas hydraulic fracturing test set by EPA

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) identified seven case studies to help it assess the potential effects of hydraulic fracturing for natural gas on drinking water resources. The case studies are part of a congressionally mandated study that will be conducted by the EPA.

The case studies, which will take place in regions across the country, will be broken into two study groups. Two of the sites, the Haynesville Shale in Louisiana and the Marcellus Shale in Pennsylvania, were selected so the EPA may monitor key aspects of the hydraulic fracturing process throughout the lifecycle of a well.

Five other case studies will examine areas where hydraulic fracturing has already occurred. They will look for any impact on drinking water resources. These locations are:

Bakken Shale in North Dakota

Barnett Shale in Texas,

Two sections of the Marcellus Shale in Pennsylvania, and

Raton Basin in Colorado.

EPA said that more than 40 case studies were nominated for inclusion in the study. The case studies were identified, prioritized and selected based on proximity of population and drinking water supplies to activities, concerns about impaired water quality and health and environmental impacts. Sites were prioritized based on geographic and geologic diversity, population at risk, site status, unique geological or hydrology features, characteristics of water resources and land use.

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