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USGS: Fracking hasn’t tainted water

Shallow water wells in Van Buren and Faulkner counties have not been contaminated by natural gas production, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

USGS released the findings of its study on Jan. 9. Tests were conducted on 127 domestic wells in the two Fayetteville Shale counties in 2011.

The study looked at chloride and methane levels.

The USGS said chloride levels were no higher than in samples dating back to 1951. Methane found in the well water was naturally occurring or could not be attributed to natural-gas production activities, the USGS report said.

U.S. Rep. Tim Griffin said the report’s conclusion is “additional evidence that natural-gas production is safe for our environment and communities. While we must always seek to ensure that energy development is done responsibly, this report is an ‘inconvenient truth’ for those who seek to ban fracking.”

The study was authored by hydrologists with the USGS and researchers at Duke University. The report was prepared in cooperation with the Arkansas Natural Resources Commission, Arkansas Oil and Gas Commission, Duke University, Faulkner County, Shirley Community Development Corporation, and the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, and the USGS Groundwater Resources Program.

The Fayetteville Shale play spans approximately 4,000 square miles and is one of the most productive shale plays in the country.

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