PITTSBURGH: Studies Find Methane in Pa. Drinking Water
By KEVIN BEGOS — Associated Press
PITTSBURGH — New research in Pennsylvania demonstrates that it’s hard to nail down how often natural gas drilling is contaminating drinking water: One study found high levels of methane in some water wells within a half-mile of gas wells, while another found some serious methane pollution occurring naturally, far away from drilling.
The findings represent a middle ground between critics of the drilling technique known as hydraulic fracturing who claim it causes widespread contamination, and an industry that suggests they are rare or nonexistent.
The contamination from drilling is “not an epidemic. It’s a minority of cases,” said Rob Jackson, a Duke University researcher and co-author of the study released Monday. But he added the team found that serious contamination from bubbly methane is “much more” prevalent in some water wells within 1 kilometer of gas drilling sites.