Fracking has no 'widespread' impact on drinking water — EPA

Fracking has no 'widespread' impact on drinking water — EPA

A fracking site in Ohio. Image from archives.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said in a Thursday report that it has found no evidence of hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” leading to “widespread, systematic” pollution of drinking water.

EPA’s study, five years in the making, concluded that while there are above and below ground mechanisms by which fracking has the potential to impact drinking water sources, the number of identified cases was "small" compared to the amount of fracking wells.

"We did not find evidence that these mechanisms [of potentially affecting water] have led to widespread, systemic impacts on drinking water resources in the U.S.," EPA said.

The draft assessment, requested by Congress, includes over 20 peer-reviewed articles and papers that aim to “give state regulators, tribes and local communities and industry around the country a critical resource to identify how best to protect public health and their drinking water resources,” the agency said in an e-mailed statement.

It also noted findings could have been limited due to insufficient amount of data and the presence of other possible contaminates that made it impossible to conclude fracking's effects on certain areas.

Yet, some energy industry members applauded the report. "With this new report, it couldn't be clearer that shale development is occurring in conjunction with environmental protection and the claims by anti-fracking activists have been thoroughly debunked," a post from the Independent Petroleum Association of America's outreach campaign said.

Fracking remains controversial in some communities as the technique involves shooting millions of gallons of water, laced with chemicals, into dense rock formations to create fractures and allow oil and natural gas to flow out.

The Obama administration announced in March the first major nationwide safety restrictions on the activity for the oil and natural gas industries.