Methane Levels in Eagle Ford Water Insignificant

Fracking Facts

Oil and gas production in the Eagle Ford is not significantly impacting drinking water wells, according to a new study.

Fracking & Water Safety: New Technology

A recent study by the U.S. Geological Survey assesses the effects of oil and gas activity on water quality in several shale fields. 

The article, published in the Journal of Environmental Science & Technology, tested  116 wells in the Eagle Ford, Fayetteville, and Haynesville shale formations. Of the wells that tested positive for methane, 90 percent had concentrations lower than 10 milligrams per liter. Researchers concluded that these methane levels are not enough to significantly affect drinking water, though it might take decades to fully assess the situation. 

Methane isotopes and hydrocarbon gas compositions indicate most of the methane in the wells was biogenic and produced by the CO2 reduction pathway, not from thermogenic shale gas.
— USGS Study

In the midst of the fracking debate, many have raised concerns about the amount of water used in the fracking process and the potential danger to the depletion of our nation’s water supply. 

Fracking Facts: Is Our Water Supply at Risk?

Last year, researchers from the UK announced the development of a new way to check for water contamination in order to monitor the safety of shale gas and coal bed methane extraction. Other fracking studies include:

  • Yale: measured well water near fracked wells concludes that ‘there was no evidence of association with deeper brines or long-range migration of these compounds to the shallow aquifers
  • EPA: claimed certain fracking activities that have the potential to impact drinking water resources but found no evidence that these activities have led to widespread, systemic impacts on drinking water in the United States.
  • John Hopkins : concluded possible adverse health outcomes associated with fracking