WASHINGTON — Hydraulic fracturing for natural gas in Pennsylvania may contaminate drinking-water supplies, a study by Duke University professors concluded.
The report, published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, said a chemical analysis of 426 shallow groundwater samples found matches with brine found in rock more than one mile deep, suggesting paths that would let gas or water flow up after drilling. While the connection predates hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, it shows natural routes for seepage into wells or streams.
Gas drilling by fracking has been an economic boon for the state and helped drive down natural gas prices nationwide. It also has raised fears among citizens and environmental groups about water contamination from the chemical mixture that breaks apart the shale or from gas leaking into water wells.