Water samples from Chesapeake Energy drill sites that involved fracking are being tested by the EPA as part of their year-long study on the effects of fracking on water. As drill rigs continue to pop up across the country, sites such as this Chesapeake Energy rig near a church in Willow Creek, Texas are being closely examined. (Source: Chesapeake Energy)
According to a Dow Jones article published yesterday, Chesapeake Energy is teaming up with the Environmental Protection Agency to conduct a study that will measure the effects of fracking on water. One site will be closely observed as the EPA attempts to determine the safety of the recently popular natural gas extraction technique.
This study adds to the EPA's yearlong look at the industry's effects on the environment – a topic that has been debated by everyone from the oil companies to farmers since the country's latest oil boom took off.
"The value of these tests is that they are really the first independent review of what's happening from startto finish. It is a data set that doesn't really exist right now," Briana Mordick, a scientist at the Natural Resources Defense Council, told the Dow Jones.
In-order to examine possible changes to water by fracking, water will be sampled both before and after drilling. The EPA will also investigate drilling projects by Pioneer Natural Resources Co. (PXD), Denbury Resources Inc. (DNR), and Cabot Oil and Gas Corp. (COG) where contamination was previously reported.
Range Resources Corp. (RRC) is also talking with the EPA to negotiate a similar study of one of its drill sites. The move by both energy companies comes a year before the EPA's examination of the industry is due; also suggesting that the industry is more confident in its environmental standards.
Though the industry has made a concerted effort to tighten the amount of spills and leaks over the past few years, Glenn Miller, a University of Nevada, Reno, professor of environmental science who studies water issues, is not satisfied by the tests.
"If a company knows they're being followed closely, they're going to be very, very careful," Mr. Miller told the Dow Jones.