Scientists agree: Fracking doesn’t harm our water

Colorado’s lakes, reservoirs, and streams make our state beautiful—and more importantly, nourish our wildlife and supply our communities with water. When it comes to protecting our water, stringent regulations keep Colorado’s water clean while ensuring we can still responsibly access our state’s vast energy resources.

In fact, scientists and researchers from over two-dozen governmental organizations, universities, and nonprofits confirm that fracking does not contaminate groundwater.

Take a look at the findings of 26 of these independent, scientific studies below:

  1. The Academy of Medicine, Engineering and Science of Texas (2017): “Direct migration of contaminants from targeted injection zones is highly unlikely to lead to contamination of potential drinking water aquifers.” (p. 128)
  2. United States Geological Survey (2017): Unconventional oil and gas operations, such as fracking, did not affect drinking water quality.
  3. Duke University (2017): “Based on consistent evidence from comprehensive testing, we found no indication of groundwater contamination over the three-year course of our study.” (From press release)
  4. University of Cincinnati (2016): Water quality not affected by fracking or natural gas drilling in Ohio.
  5. University of Texas-Austin (2016): Groundwater not affected by fracking in Parker County, Texas.
  6. Syracuse University (2016): No evidence that fracking altered water quality in Appalachian Basin.
  7. Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality (2016): Scientists show fracking had no impact on water-supply wells in Pavillion, Wyoming.
  8. Susquehanna River Basin Commission (2016): “To date, the Commission’s monitoring programs have not detected discernible impacts on the quality of the Basin’s water resources as a result of natural gas development, but continued vigilance is warranted.” (p. 8)
  9. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Yale University (2015): “We have found no evidence for direct communication with shallow drinking water wells due to upward migration from shale horizons. This result is encouraging, because it implies there is some degree of temporal and spatial separation between injected fluids and drinking water supply.” (p. 5)
  10. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (2015): “[H]ydraulic fracturing activities have not led to widespread, systematic impacts to drinking water resources.”
  11. U.S. District Court, Wyoming (2015): “[E]xperts and government regulators have repeatedly acknowledged a lack of evidence linking the hydraulic fracturing process to groundwater contamination.” (p. 26)
  12. Syracuse University (2015): No evidence of fracking contaminating groundwater in heavily drilled areas of Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Ohio.
  13. California Council on Science & Technology (2015): “The study found no releases of hazardous hydraulic fracturing chemicals to surface waters in California and no direct impacts to fish or wildlife.” (p. 35)
  14. Stanford University (2015): Scientists find no evidence that fracking chemicals seeped into drinking water.
  15. U.S. Department of Energy (2014): “Current findings are: 1) no evidence of gas migration from the Marcellus Shale; and 2) no evidence of brine migration from the Marcellus Shale.” (p. 2)
  16. U.S. Geological Survey (2014): “The comparison of groundwater data from this study with historical data found no significant difference for any of the constituents examined and therefore warrant no further discussion.” (p. 47)
  17. Duke University, U.S. Geological Study (2013): Fracking and other gas-production activities had no effect on groundwater quality in Arkansas.
  18. Gradient (2013): There is “no scientific basis” for the claim that fracking fluids will contaminate water aquifers.
  19. University of Michigan (2013): “The often-postulated percolation upward of fracking water used in deep, long lateral well extensions to contaminate drinking water aquifers near the surface through the intervening impermeable rock formations is highly unlikely and has never reliably been shown to have occurred.” (p. 13)
  20. National Groundwater Association (2013): “[T]hese findings suggest that the methane concentrations in Susquehanna County water wells can be explained without the migration of Marcellus shale gas through fractures, an observation that has important implications for understanding the nature of risks associated with shale-gas extraction.” (Study abstract)
  21. Cardno Entrix (2012): Fracking has not caused groundwater contamination in Los Angeles.
  22. U.S. Government Accountability Office (2012): “[R]egulatory officials we met with from eight states – Arkansas, Colorado, Louisiana, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, and Texas – told us that, based on state investigations, the hydraulic fracturing process has not been identified as a cause of groundwater contamination within their states.” (p. 49)
  23. Ground Water Protection Council (2011): “In recent years, the national debate on natural gas E&P has been focused nearly exclusively on a single, brief, yet essential activity, hydraulic fracturing. Neither state [Ohio and Texas] has identified hydraulic fracturing as the cause of a single documented groundwater contamination incident.” (p. 102)
  24. Center for Rural Pennsylvania (2011): Gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale has not contaminated nearby water wells.
  25. New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (2011): Fracking did not cause groundwater contamination.
  26. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (2010): Risk of water contamination is low due to distance between groundwater and where fracking occurs.


Learn More!
Want to learn more about fracking? What is in fracking fluid? How much water does fracking use? Click here to get the facts on fracking in Colorado – from our state’s stringent regulations to how it powers our economy and supports our communities.

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