July 1, 2013

USGS To Test Fayetteville Water

“Today’s THV, in Little Rock, Arkansas, reported July 7 about the U.S. Geological Survey’s (USGS) tests in Van Buren County to determine if gas drilling in the area is having any effect on the area’s drinking water.


USGS To Test Fayetteville Water

The area is part of the Fayetteville Shale territory where natural gas is extracted by a technique called hydraulic fracturing. Commonly called “”fracking,”" hydraulic fracturing involves blasting water, sand and chemicals into shale rock formations at high pressure to release the gases. Although the technique has been around for over 60 years, recent advancements in drilling technology has made fracking more profitable and common.

The concern from environmentalists, as well as some residents near fracking operations, is that the chemicals used in the process could seep into their drinking water. Tom Kimmons, a resident of Shirley, in Van Buren County, said that after fracking operations began around his home his water became cloudy and he is now afraid to drink it.

The USGS tests being conducted this week in Van Buren County is a first for a local USGS office. The tests will check for the presence of chlorides, a chemical in frack fluid, found in high concentrations when the fluid comes back to the surface.

The USGS is conducting these tests first in Van Buren County, with plans to test in Faulkner County by August. The agency said they may possibly hit Conway County after that.

The tests in Arkansas are being watched by other areas of the country were fracking operations are common. USGS offices in Pennsylvania, Texas, and New York are closely monitoring how the tests are conducted in an effort to learn how to implement them in their areas.

Testing in each county is expected to take two or three weeks, with the samples sent off to the University of Arkansas and Duke University. Results are expected in one or two months.”

Hydraulic fracturing – Wikipedia

Union Drilling Signs Multi-Year Contracts For Two New Rigs

Shale gas in the United States – Wikipedia

Shale Goes Global – Slate Magazine