New German Study Finds Fracking Doesn’t Contaminate Water

A new study released this week by geologists at the Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources (BGR), found that developing Germany’s shale gas and oil resources through hydraulic fracturing would not pose a threat to drinking water resources. While the study itself is currently only available in German, a Reuters report summarized its findings and quoted Stefan Ladage, the lead author of the study, who explained,

“We found that the injected fluids did not move upwards into layers carrying drinking water,”

Ladage also said that hydraulic fracturing could help Germany ramp up its domestic development of natural gas: “Gas production from domestic resources has been falling for 10 years. Using shale gas resources in Germany primarily bears the potential of mitigating part of the ongoing decline.”

Of course, the primary conclusion reached by the BGR geologists – that fracking does not pose a credible threat to water — echoes the findings of several recent reports published here in the states.

Most notably, last year the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) concluded, after a five-year comprehensive study, the hydraulic fracturing has not “led to widespread, systemic impacts on drinking water resources in the United States.”

Another example is Stanford University’s 2015 study, “The Depths of Hydraulic Fracturing and Accompanying Water Use Across the United States”. In the study, researchers also found no evidence of fracking fluids migrating up into drinking water aquifers. As the study’s press release states:

“Using innovative techniques such as isotopic ‘tracer’ compounds that distinguish the source of chemicals in well water, Jackson has not found evidence that frack water contaminants seep upward to drinking-water aquifers from deep underground.”

A recent study from California Council on Science & Technology came to the same conclusion when studying wells in the state. As the report states:

“We found no documented instances of hydraulic fracturing or acid stimulations directly causing groundwater contamination in California.”

These are just a few in a long list of studies to reach that conclusion. So, whether it’s the United States or Germany (or any other country, for that matter) the science on fracking and groundwater couldn’t be clearer.


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