No water contamination found in Ohio's fracking epicenter | Science News

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No water contamination found in Ohio's fracking epicenter

Methane in local groundwater comes from biological sources, not fossil fuel drilling

By
4:48pm, October 22, 2014
hydraulic fracturing

ALL'S WELL  During hydraulic fracturing, workers pump fracking fluid into natural gas wells. Groundwater samples collected around one Ohio county show no contamination from nearby fracking activities.

VANCOUVER — Fracking in Carroll County, the heart of Ohio's natural gas boom, hasn't contaminated groundwater, new research shows. The study is the first in the country to evaluate drinking water quality before and after the local onset of hydraulic fracturing, better known as fracking.

Some residential water wells did contain high levels of methane, which is the core component of natural gas. But researchers reported October 19 at the Geological Society of America's annual meeting that the contamination came from natural biological sources such as soil bacteria, not leaky gas wells. Previous studies in Pennsylvania and New York linked fracking wells with methane pollution in groundwater (SN Online: 6/25/13).

"Our data show that fracking can be done in a way that maintains the integrity of the groundwater," said Amy Townsend-Small, a

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