A recently-published study by researchers at the University of Texas at Arlington (UTA) shows alarming levels of arsenic and other heavy metals in aquifers overlying the Barnett Shale formation in northern Texas, near active natural gas wells.
According to the document, chemical and metal levels exceeded the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) maximum limits for drinking water standards in wells located within about three kilometres of fracking sites.
While the team’s findings are not conclusive, they provide further proof that links fracking to arsenic contamination, according to an internal Environmental Protection Agency PowerPoint presentation published in the Los Angeles Times last month.
In the document, EPA warned that wells near Dimock, Pennsylvania, showed elevated levels of arsenic in the groundwater. The EPA also found arsenic in groundwater near fracking sites in Pavillion, Wyomin, four years ago — a study the agency later abandoned.
In the last ten years, the Barnett Shale formation has attracted dozens of fracking activities. As of May this year, the shale formation had more than 16,740 active wells.