On June 17, 2015, the scientific American Chemical Society journal Environmental Science & Technology published a peer-reviewed study entitled “A Comprehensive Analysis of Groundwater Quality in The Barnett Shale Region.” The study addresses whether unconventional oil and gas extraction activities in the Barnett shale formation of Texas have had significant impacts on groundwater quality.
The researchers used 550 groundwater samples collected from private and public water wells within the Barnett shale formation to determine the presence of elevated natural constituents and substances associated with the use of hydraulic fracturing. This study also examines changes in groundwater quality compared with a previous study entitled “An evaluation of water quality in private drinking water wells near natural gas extraction sites in the barnett shale formation” and published in the same scientific journal in 2013.
After reviewing the water samples, authors of the study established the presence of several volatile organic carbon compounds associated with hydraulic fracturing in aquifers overlying the Barnett shale formation. Nevertheless, they highlighted that such discovery “does not necessarily implicate unconventional [oil and gas] extraction as the source of contamination; however, it does provide an impetus for further monitoring and analysis of groundwater quality in this region.”
Written by Chloe Marie - Research Fellow