Tuesday, August 7, 2012

New Study Considers Theoretical Water Contamination Risk From Marcellus Drilling

A graduate student and professor at SUNY Stony Brook are getting a paper published in a scientific journal which uses mathematical formulas to theorize on what parts of the shale drilling process pose the greatest risk of water contamination.  There was no field testing done as part of the report.

The report (which you can view after the jump by clicking on the "read more" link below) concludes that wastewater disposal represents the greatest risk.  This conclusion, however, is based on a 2008 article which stated that drillers did not typically recycle wastewater - which is no longer the case.

Thus, Marcellus Drilling News concluded this at the end of a well-written breakdown of this new study (click here to read the entire MDN article - subscription required):
The situation on the ground has changed in the past four years. If this article had been released four years ago, its conclusions might have been more relevant. Look, drilling for natural gas is an industrial process that produces industrial waste. No one disputes that. There are always risks, and if there are ways to reduce or mitigate those risks, we need to do it (within reason). We appreciate the work of these authors and their attempt to say, “Hey, here are some things to think about when it comes to drilling in the Marcellus. Problems you need to consider.” However, to be blunt, there is nothing earth-shattering here. And certainly no reason to do anything differently than we are doing now. Their main conclusion—that we need to concentrate on wastewater disposal—is not relevant today.
Again, you can read the actual study after the jump.



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