Public Release: 

Hydraulic fracturing and groundwater wells

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

A study examines the proximity of domestic groundwater wells to hydraulically fractured oil and gas wells in the United States. Self-supply groundwater wells provide drinking water to around 45 million Americans. The number of self-supply or public-supply water wells that are in close proximity to hydraulic fracturing operations and at risk of potential contamination remains unestablished. Scott Jasechko and Debra Perrone determined the distances between domestic groundwater wells constructed between 2000 and 2014 and hydraulically fractured oil and gas wells stimulated in 2014 in 14 states. Of the nearly 27,000 wells stimulated in 2014, 37% were within 2 km of at least one domestic groundwater well, and 60% were within 3 km of at least one domestic groundwater well. In 11 counties, a majority of domestic groundwater wells were within 2 km of a hydraulically fractured well, whereas a majority of domestic groundwater wells were within 2 km of a producing oil and gas well in 236 counties. The results suggest the importance of increased water quality monitoring efforts near hydraulic fracturing and conventional oil and gas wells to determine the risk of contamination and to protect well water quality. The results also identify hotspots of water wells in proximity to oil and gas wells where such efforts could be targeted, according to the authors.

Article #17-01682: "Hydraulic fracturing near domestic groundwater wells," by Scott Jasechko and Debra Perrone.

MEDIA CONTACT: Scott Jasechko, University of California, Santa Barbara, CA; tel: 415-510-1743; e-mail: <jasechko@ucsb.edu>

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