The true consequences of fracking are finally being shown, after a test found fracking chemicals in Pennsylvania homes that are located near a reported well-pad leak. The New York Times reports that a team of scientists conducted an analysis using a new technique to determine that a chemical compound known as 2-BE was present in homes near the fracking well. The compound is an “unidentified mixture of organic contaminants, both commonly seen in the flowback water from Marcellus shale activity.”

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“These findings are important because we show that chemicals traveling from shale gas wells more than 2 kilometers (just over 1 mile) in the subsurface to drinking water wells,” Susan Brantley, professor of geosciences and director of the Earth and Environmental Institute at Penn State University, told The New York Times. “The chemical that we identified either came from fracking fluids or from drilling additives and it moved with natural gas through natural features in the rock. In addition, for the first time, all of the data are released so that anyone can study the problem.”

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According to Brantley, this kind of contamination to shallow potable water has never been revealed this fully and the new analysis technique could become an important tool for evaluating alleged caused of unconventional gas drilling impacts to groundwater.

State environmental regulators have found high level of natural gas in the water before, but didn’t notice the flowback water contamination above regulatory limits, which made the water foam – according to the researchers. The researchers were able to piece things together using sophisticated equipment that tested for a range of potential contaminants at low levels, instead of specific substances.

The news is ‘too little, too late’ for the people who lived in the homes, which were sold to the gas company via a legal settlement in 2012.

Via New York Times

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