Frac or Fiction: Hydraulic Fracturing Contaminating Groundwater

: Hydraulic fracturing contaminating groundwater is a reality


There are no documented cases of hydraulic fracturing contaminating ground water.

The process of hydraulic fracturing sends water, chemicals, and sand into the rocks thousands of feet below the surface to help unlock the natural gas and oil.

Some people are worried that this process could potentially lead to contamination of their drinking water even though no actual cases have been reported.

Hydraulic fracturing takes place an average of 6,000 feet below the surface. That’s four Empire State Buildings stacked on top of each other between the aquifer and the hydraulic fracture. The distance from the aquifer above along with various other pressures such as the weight of the earth pushing down on hydraulic fracturing zone, make it extremely difficult for the fluids to migrate up into the groundwater layer.

At Cabot, our drilling operations are designed to comply with and exceed all applicable state laws and regulations. Steel pipes, known as casing, are cemented into place at the uppermost portion of the well for the specific purpose of protecting groundwater. Casing and cementing are critical parts of the well construction process that not only protect groundwater, but are also important to ensure the efficient production of natural gas from the well.

Before hydraulic fracturing even begins, the cased and cemented well is tested at pressures greater than those that are used during fracturing operations.  Additionally, a cement bond evaluation log uses sound waves to determine whether or not there are flaws in the integrity of the cement in the vertical portion of the well.

According to the Department of Energy, a landmark federal study on hydraulic fracturing shows no evidence what so ever that chemicals from the natural gas drilling press move up to contaminate drinking water aquifers in western Pennsylvania drilling sites.

“I’m not aware of any proven case where the fracking process itself has affected water,” said EPA administrator Lisa Jackson.

So have no fear, your drinking water is clear!

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Kelly Grago

Kelly Grago was born and raised in the quaint town of Sewickley, Pennsylvania. She is a recent graduate of Robert Morris University where she earned a B.A. in Communications with a concentration in Public Relations. Kelly currently works as an Intern in External Affairs for Cabot Oil & Gas Corporation where her responsibilities include writing for Cabot’s social media, scheduling content and event planning.

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