EPA finds natural gas drilling chemicals in drinking water

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said it found chemicals likely used in extracting natural gas through a process called hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking, in a drinking-water aquifer in Pavillion, Wyo.

Bloomberg reports that samples taken from two deep water-monitoring wells near a gas field showed synthetic chemicals such as glycols and alcohols, which are reportedly consistent with hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking. Calgary-based Encana Corp. owns about 150 wells in Pavillion.

EPA dug the wells into the aquifer and found levels of compounds “well above” acceptable standards under the Safe Drinking Water Act, the article said.

"This is a probability rather than a definitive conclusion," Encana spokesman Doug Hock was quoted as saying. "For an agency that prides itself on science, that's surprising."

An advisory board with the U.S. Department of Energy in August recommended more public disclosure and improvements in environmental quality of shale gas production, specifically with hydraulic fracturing. The EPA also found seven case studies in June that helped the agency assess the potential effects of hydraulic fracturing for natural gas on drinking water resources.

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