By Bernhard Debatin
Recently, the EPA confirmed that “a pair of environmental monitoring wells drilled deep into an aquifer in Pavillion, Wyo., contain high levels of cancer-causing compounds and at least one chemical commonly used in hydraulic fracturing.” Although the EPA Groundwater Investigation of Nov. 9, 2011, only provided the raw data without interpretation, one can conclude that “the chemical compounds the EPA detected are consistent with those produced from drilling processes, including one — a solvent called 2-Butoxyethanol (2-BE) — widely used in the process of hydraulic fracturing.” (ProPublica, NOv. 10, 2011).
Moreover, another decisive result of this investigation is that the methane found in the aquifers was “at near-saturation levels (up to 19 mg/L)” and has a “similar isotopic signature to production gas” (EPA Presentation). This defeats the industry’s claim that methane in the groundwater is merely a natural occurrence and not caused by fracking, since methane from shallower layers has a different chemical makeup. Continue reading