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New Study Predicts Frack Fluids Can Migrate To Aquifers Within Years
OPB News ^ | 1 May 2012 | Abrahm Lustgarten

Posted on 05/02/2012 6:30:45 AM PDT by Erik Latranyi

A new study has raised fresh concerns about the safety of gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale, concluding that fracking chemicals injected into the ground could migrate toward drinking water supplies far more quickly than experts have previously predicted.

More than 5,000 wells were drilled in the Marcellus between mid-2009 and mid-2010, according to the study, which was published in the journal Ground Water two weeks ago. Operators inject up to 4 million gallons of fluid, under more than 10,000 pounds of pressure, to drill and frack each well.

Scientists have theorized that impermeable layers of rock would keep the fluid, which contains benzene and other dangerous chemicals, safely locked nearly a mile below water supplies. This view of the earth's underground geology is a cornerstone of the industry's argument that fracking poses minimal threats to the environment.

But the study, using computer modeling, concluded that natural faults and fractures in the Marcellus, exacerbated by the effects of fracking itself, could allow chemicals to reach the surface in as little as "just a few years."

"Simply put, [the rock layers] are not impermeable," said the study's author, Tom Myers, an independent hydrogeologist whose clients include the federal government and environmental groups.

"The Marcellus shale is being fracked into a very high permeability," he said. "Fluids could move from most any injection process."

The research for the study was paid for by Catskill Mountainkeeper and the Park Foundation, two upstate New York organizations that have opposed gas drilling and fracking in the Marcellus.

(Excerpt) Read more at news.opb.org ...


TOPICS: Business/Economy; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: antifracking; environment; environmentalists; fracking; marcellus; marcellusshale; naturalgas; science4sale; shale
First, if such fissures existed or were created, the natural gas would escape.

Second, I would like to ask the esteemed geologist how fluid is going to defy gravity and flow upwards (toward the aquifers) when the purpose of fracturing is the creation of open pathways into the borehole?

This is more lies from anti-hydrocarbon liberals.

1 posted on 05/02/2012 6:30:58 AM PDT by Erik Latranyi
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To: Erik Latranyi
The study did not use sampling or case histories to assess contamination risks. Rather, it used software and computer modeling to predict how fracking fluids would move over time.

That's exactly how we got phony global warming.

2 posted on 05/02/2012 6:34:33 AM PDT by capt. norm (Blessed are they who can laugh at themselves for they shall never run out of material. c)
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To: Erik Latranyi

“Laughable Science”


3 posted on 05/02/2012 6:35:45 AM PDT by buffaloguy (uab.)
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To: capt. norm

Exactly. Same shiite, different day.


4 posted on 05/02/2012 6:36:13 AM PDT by ecomcon
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To: Erik Latranyi
Second, I would like to ask the esteemed geologist

Third, I would like to ask the paid hack geologist how many impermiable shale formations are between the Marcellus and near-surface aquifer formations?

Hint - several.

5 posted on 05/02/2012 6:37:16 AM PDT by dirtboy
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To: Erik Latranyi
If you've ever done a percolation test for a septic system, in areas with a high water table, you see water seeping up into the holes all the time....DEFYING GRAVITY.....It's least resistant that rules not gravity....

P.S. I am pro-fracking

A volcano is a BIG fissure.

6 posted on 05/02/2012 6:37:23 AM PDT by Sacajaweau
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To: Erik Latranyi
But the study, using computer modeling, ...

Until the model is verified with real data, it's nothing but a guess. Any proctologist with a flashlight can provide numbers that have the same bearing in reality.

7 posted on 05/02/2012 6:39:12 AM PDT by The_Victor (If all I want is a warm feeling, I should just wet my pants.)
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To: Erik Latranyi
Last I heard was it takes up to a million gallons of water to frac a well....so the 4 million is typical dim-rat exaggeration.

What they also don't say is that most of the water comes back out and is recycled.

In other news demand for water truck drivers in oil field areas nation wide has dramatically increased.

"Having in a CDL "A" class is like having the golden token from Wille Wonka" ...said one driver contemplating his 6 figure annual income.

8 posted on 05/02/2012 6:40:39 AM PDT by spokeshave (If Obama is Lenin....who are Trotsky and Stalin...?)
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To: Erik Latranyi

They aren’t anti-hydrocarbon, they’re anti-energy (for the masses), and as a consequence, anti-freedom and anti-life.

They only support renewables because they AREN’T viable.
If they ever did become viable and cheap, they’d oppose those as well.


9 posted on 05/02/2012 6:41:36 AM PDT by MrB (The difference between a Humanist and a Satanist - the latter knows whom he's working for)
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To: Erik Latranyi
Fracking has been done for decades so where are the studies using real data from actual fracked oil and gas fields that show this? This computer modeling is a joke when there are ample sources of real data that could be readily analyzed. This is another example of... let's build a computer model that shows what we want it to show and then present it to the science ignorant public and sycophant media as actual fact.
10 posted on 05/02/2012 6:42:40 AM PDT by The Great RJ
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To: capt. norm; Erik Latranyi
> it used software and computer modeling to predict how fracking fluids would move over time. That's exactly how we got phony global warming.

Don't waste time trying blame the computer, the software, or the process of modeling per se. They're fine.

The faulty premises and bogus mathematical/geological models -- or more precisely, the assumptions that underlie the models -- are what give garbage results.

And those are the creations of PEOPLE, not of computers.

Garbage in, garbage out.

11 posted on 05/02/2012 6:44:18 AM PDT by dayglored (Listen, strange women lying in ponds distributing swords is no basis for a system of government!)
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To: Erik Latranyi

Fracking occurs so much deeper than the aquifers that it is ludicrous to say that it is going to affect them, unless your agenda is not the truth but to shut down energy production.


12 posted on 05/02/2012 6:46:46 AM PDT by E. Pluribus Unum (Ubama is America's first openly gay President.)
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To: Erik Latranyi

You are absolutely correct - water runs downhill. In this case downhill is toward the center of the Earth not the surface.


13 posted on 05/02/2012 6:49:17 AM PDT by Citizen Tom Paine (An old sailor sends)
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To: Erik Latranyi

This dumbass didn’t explain how the fluids will migrate through steel pipe.


14 posted on 05/02/2012 6:50:56 AM PDT by richardtavor
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To: capt. norm

Exactly right.


15 posted on 05/02/2012 6:56:28 AM PDT by bigbob
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To: Erik Latranyi

“There have been zero documented cases in which hydraulic fracturing has influenced a water table. There have been a little more than 44,000 wells hydraulically fractured in the United States, and not one documented case where a hydraulically fractured well bore has influenced the water table. We are working thousands of feet below aquifers that are used for residential and agricultural [water supply].


16 posted on 05/02/2012 6:56:55 AM PDT by Recon Dad (Gas & Petroleum Junkie)
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To: Erik Latranyi
The research for the study was paid for by Catskill Mountainkeeper and the Park Foundation, two upstate New York organizations that have opposed gas drilling and fracking in the Marcellus.

Shocking.

17 posted on 05/02/2012 6:58:43 AM PDT by DTogo (High time to bring back the Sons of Liberty !!)
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To: MrB

“They only support renewables because they AREN’T viable.
If they ever did become viable and cheap, they’d oppose those as well”

Exactly! almost everywhere hydro power is considered a renewable energy supply; except in Washington State because there is an abundance of hydro power, therefore it is not considered part of of a shift to a renewable energy source.


18 posted on 05/02/2012 7:00:55 AM PDT by dirtymac (Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their country., Really! NOW!!!)
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To: spokeshave

Drilling unconventional wells is using up all of our fresh water. Answer: False.

“The hydraulic fracturing industry uses in one day what New York City uses in 12 hours. In one day, we use the same amount of water that irrigates less than one percent of the entire U.S. corn crop. It amounts to about 20 percent of golf-course watering for one day.
“Now let’s talk about alternative energies and their consumption of water: For shale gas development, for every million BTUs produced we use 2.3 gallons of water. For coal, it’s five gallons of water. For nuclear, it’s 11 gallons of water. For biofuels, it’s 2,500 gallons of water that’s used to create 1 million BTUs of natural gas.”


19 posted on 05/02/2012 7:01:58 AM PDT by Recon Dad (Gas & Petroleum Junkie)
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To: buffaloguy
“Laughable Science”

Yet I kinda hope they stick with it. If the DC Democrats try and shut down fracking, it is gonna unleash open warfare with State and Local Dems that will rival the best NY/NJ mob wars of The Sopranos.
20 posted on 05/02/2012 7:07:22 AM PDT by Buckeye McFrog
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To: The_Victor
Yes, these are the same MODELS they have tried to use to persuade us about global warming. You show me some conclusive laboratory analysis confirmation/ evidence of impact of the fracking injection compounds in the underlying aquifers as a result of this and I will believe it.
21 posted on 05/02/2012 7:08:00 AM PDT by ecsmceo (http://www.roadmap.republicans.budget.house.gov/)
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To: Erik Latranyi

FIRST: Chemical additives used in fracturing fluids typically make up less than 2% by weight of the total fluid used.

There are 7.5 gallons of fluid in a cubic foot. That means 4,000,000 gallons is about 533,333 cubic feet. That is an area 80 feet by 80 feet by 80 feet of fracturing fluid, 98% of which is water anyway.

More importantly, most fracking involves 1,000,000 gallons of fracturing fluid or less and remember, 98% of the fracturing fluid is water. No doubt this article wanted to raise the hype 4 fold.


22 posted on 05/02/2012 7:11:12 AM PDT by dewawi
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To: Erik Latranyi
Whore-Science will always find the results that it is paid to find, and the truth be damned.
23 posted on 05/02/2012 7:11:27 AM PDT by fella ("As it was before Noah, so shall it be again.")
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To: The_Victor

But the study, using computer modeling, ...

Until the model is verified with real data, it’s nothing but a guess. Any proctologist with a flashlight can provide numbers that have the same bearing in reality.

Good point. I think that the patient (model predictions) has the flashlight firmly implanted in the nether regions of reality. The same crap (pun intended) happens with “climate models” where the conclusions are assumed in the premises, i.e., circular reasoning. The conclusions here are highly speculative, another example of bad science. Bad mathematicians become physicists, bad physicists become meteorologists, bad meteorologists become climate scientists.

-Frank


24 posted on 05/02/2012 7:12:34 AM PDT by thepoodlebites (and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.)
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To: Erik Latranyi

That’s nothing. Around here (Southern Michigan) they’re trying to tell people that water pumped into injection wells will flash over to steam and cause explosions.

Never mind the fact that the rock at the 2500 foot depth that they’re talking about is in the 70 degree range in this area.


25 posted on 05/02/2012 7:17:25 AM PDT by cripplecreek (What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world but loses his soul?)
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To: Erik Latranyi
...concluding that fracking chemicals injected into the ground could migrate toward drinking water supplies far more quickly than experts have previously predicted.

...exacerbated by the effects of fracking itself, could allow chemicals to reach the surface...

..."Fluids could move from most any injection process."

Yep, that thar is some gud science!

26 posted on 05/02/2012 7:24:16 AM PDT by Cletus.D.Yokel (Catastrophic Anthropogenic Climate Alterations - The acronym explains the science.)
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To: Sacajaweau
If you've ever done a percolation test for a septic system, in areas with a high water table, you see water seeping up into the holes all the time....DEFYING GRAVITY.....It's least resistant that rules not gravity....

No, that is pressure exceeding the force of gravity.

But, my original post accounts for that as hydraulic fracturing creates pathways of least resistance into the borehole.

So your post is pointless.

27 posted on 05/02/2012 7:30:29 AM PDT by Erik Latranyi (When religions have to beg the gov't for a waiver, we are already under socialism.)
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To: Erik Latranyi

Hmmm...

Natural gas, lighter than air - it stays put

Water and other liquids, heavier than air - they go up.

Makes sense to me!


28 posted on 05/02/2012 7:32:20 AM PDT by lacrew (Mr. Soetoro, we regret to inform you that your race card is over the credit limit.)
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To: Erik Latranyi

More lies from the ‘crucify the Turks’ EPA Thugs.


29 posted on 05/02/2012 7:38:28 AM PDT by bboop (Without justice, what else is the State but a great band of robbers? St. Augustine)
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To: Sacajaweau

I’ve done many percolation tests.

The water is not ‘wicking’ up in the soil. Simple gravity is actually at play.

Here are the usual ingredients, for having a shallow water table:

1. You are in a low area - i.e., there are adjacent areas, which are at least slightly higher.

2. Shallow rock ledge

Some of the rainwater in the area goes down into the soil, as per usual. However, it can’t get past the rock ledge, and becomes ‘perched’ on the rock. The water will eventually migrate to the lowest point on this rock ledge, which is usually the lowest point on the top surface.

The water can even come out of the ground, if the elevation difference is enough (think mountain spring).

As an example, if my per test is at elevation 100, and there is nearby ground at elevation 110, and the rock is 10 feet deep at 100, I would expect groundwater on my lot to be immediately below the surface. When I dig the perc hole, and see the water fill the hole, it is actually seeping in from the sides...essentially ‘falling into’ to hole. And, it may bubble up from the bottom, due the the energy gradient between the perched water and the hole. But the energy gradient is due to gravity (think hose level), and certainly not defying it.

Liquids can ‘wick’ and defy gravity. But, the weight of the water in the aquifer would actually push groundwater down any cracks in the rock, inhibiting any wick action. Also, somebody smarter about fracking than me may have info on the surface tension of fracking fluid, and whether or not wicking is probably.


30 posted on 05/02/2012 7:46:37 AM PDT by lacrew (Mr. Soetoro, we regret to inform you that your race card is over the credit limit.)
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To: Erik Latranyi
These must be the same ‘computer models’ written by the Global Warmist schemers.

Fracturing releases gas that is already under pressure. If that pressure was not great enough to force it to the surface, how could less pressure force a substantially heavier substance upwards, against the force of gravity?

Morons!

31 posted on 05/02/2012 7:48:56 AM PDT by Jim from C-Town (The government is rarely benevolent, often malevolent and never benign!)
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To: Erik Latranyi

This has happened in Texas. Also, we have had natural gas leak into water supplies.


32 posted on 05/02/2012 7:56:01 AM PDT by SaraJohnson
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To: lacrew

Excellent reply. The water is actually seeking it’s level in the pit rather than flowing up.

An area near me that routinely fails perk tests has a layer of clay under the top soil. The ground holds a tremendous amount of water in the top soil that is blocked from further percolation because of the layer of clay below it. Dig a pit and that surface water flows into it like a bowl.


33 posted on 05/02/2012 8:20:44 AM PDT by headstamp 2 (Liberalism: Carrying adolescent values and behavior into adult life.)
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To: Erik Latranyi

New Study Predicts Monkeys Will Fly Out Of My Butt


34 posted on 05/02/2012 8:22:11 AM PDT by dfwgator (Don't wake up in a roadside ditch. Get rid of Romney.)
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To: dirtymac

But...But...what if gravity fails! Then there will be no power. Why waste money on something so unproven and tempermental when we have solar and green bio fuels?! (end hippy channeling)


35 posted on 05/02/2012 9:11:06 AM PDT by Durus (You can avoid reality, but you cannot avoid the consequences of avoiding reality. Ayn Rand)
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To: Erik Latranyi
The research for the study was paid for by Catskill Mountainkeeper and the Park Foundation, two upstate New York organizations that have opposed gas drilling and fracking in the Marcellus.

And the "study" gave them exactly the outcome they wanted to hear. I'm shocked. /s

36 posted on 05/02/2012 10:42:53 AM PDT by newzjunkey (Newt says, "A nominee that depresses turnout won't beat Barack Obama.")
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To: capt. norm
With no sampling or case history, it's not a study. It's a computer model where in garbage in = garbage out and, worse, it happened to be paid for by anti-fracking groups. It's worthless.

Funny how "studies" funded by industry or investors are tainted but those funded by activists are Real Scientific Fact™.

37 posted on 05/02/2012 10:48:02 AM PDT by newzjunkey (Newt says, "A nominee that depresses turnout won't beat Barack Obama.")
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To: Erik Latranyi
Let's see what "Major Tom" has to say...

@Review of DRAFT: Investigation of Ground Water Contamination near Pavillion Wyoming Prepared by the Environmental Protection Agency, Ada OK

I'm off to read it myself. Just wanted to get the link up first.

38 posted on 05/02/2012 10:57:22 AM PDT by philman_36 (Pride breakfasted with plenty, dined with poverty, and supped with infamy. Benjamin Franklin)
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To: SaraJohnson
This has happened in Texas. Also, we have had natural gas leak into water supplies.

No, fracturing fluid has not migrated into aquifers from underground.....from surface spills---yes.....but not from underground.

Also, I bet it was not natural gas, but methane in water. There is a difference.

39 posted on 05/02/2012 11:09:22 AM PDT by Erik Latranyi (When religions have to beg the gov't for a waiver, we are already under socialism.)
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To: Erik Latranyi
Well it appears that some substantial prior reading is necessary...

@Investigation of Ground Water Contamination near Pavillion, Wyoming

@The EPA Draft Report of Groundwater Contamination Near Pavillion, Wyoming: Main Findings and Stakeholder Responses
This is interesting...

The EPA Draft Report does not discuss the shallow groundwater contamination in much detail, and it does not indicate that the source of the contaminants in shallow groundwater is anything other than the surface pits. Reactions to the report and commentary by stakeholders also have not focused on the shallow groundwater issues, or on the surface pits as likely sources of contaminants. The focus of the EPA Draft Report and the issues raised by proponents of natural gas development and hydraulic fracturing concern the detection and source of contaminants in the deeper portions of the aquifer. Domestic water wells in the Pavillion area generally use groundwater from the shallower portions of the aquifer.

This comment in Tom's review is interesting as well...

This review discusses in detail the appropriateness of the study design, methodology, execution, results, and interpretation and the reasonableness of the conclusions. It specifically follows and considers the EPA’s “lines of reasoning” approach used to reach its conclusion.

Back to reading.

40 posted on 05/02/2012 11:16:31 AM PDT by philman_36 (Pride breakfasted with plenty, dined with poverty, and supped with infamy. Benjamin Franklin)
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To: Erik Latranyi
Uh-oh... However, the EPA states the information source was from the State Engineer and homeowner interviews (EPA p 2). It is unclear whether both were used for each well. It is my experience that homeowners have a poor concept of the depth of their well unless they have paperwork that documents it.

And you just have to admire the EPA for going to a place that would cause doubt on the whole enterprise...

Fracking has also occurred for up to 40 years, so the pathways could have required up to 40 years for transport.
The EPA didn't go where new fracking methods were used, they went to one of the oldest fracking areas in the nation.

Overall, lot's of speculation and plenty of...you need to make a better survey and report.

41 posted on 05/02/2012 11:32:01 AM PDT by philman_36 (Pride breakfasted with plenty, dined with poverty, and supped with infamy. Benjamin Franklin)
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To: Erik Latranyi
From the initial EPA report... Detection of high concentrations of benzene, xylenes, gasoline range organics, diesel range organics, and total purgeable hydrocarbons in ground water samples from shallow monitoring wells near pits indicates that pits are a source of shallow ground water contamination in the area of investigation. When considered separately, pits represent potential source terms for localized ground water plumes of unknown extent. When considered as whole they represent potential broader contamination of shallow ground water. A number of stock and domestic wells in the area of investigation are fairly shallow (e.g., < 30 meters below ground surface) representing potential receptor pathways. Determination of the sources of inorganic and organic geochemical anomalies in deeper ground water was considerably more complex than determination of sources in shallow media necessitating the use of mulitiple lines of reasoning approach common to complex scientific investigations. pH values in MW01 and MW01 are highly alkaline (11.2-12.0) with up to 94% of the total alkalinity contributed by hydroxide suggesting addition of a strong base as the causative factor. Reaction path modeling indicates that sodium-sulfate composition of ground water typical of deeper portions of the Wind River Formation provides little resistance to elevation of pH with small addition of potassium hydroxide. Potassium hydroxide was used in a crosslinker and in a solvent at this site.

Oh, yeah, modeling. That's really worked in the area of global warming hasn't it.
Sounds to me like somebody was making a bunch of WAGs (wild a$$ guesses).

From the third link...

EPA added that Encana is currently engaged in investigating and remediating several pit areas. Encana has contributed to the cost of furnishing alternate supplies of drinking water to some Pavillion citizens while its investigation continues as part of the stakeholder group.18 Encana acquired the natural gas field and its infrastructure in 2004; however, drilling for natural gas began in the 1960s and the surface pits were excavated prior to 2004.19
The EPA Draft Report does not discuss the shallow groundwater contamination in much detail, and it does not indicate that the source of the contaminants in shallow groundwater is anything other than the surface pits. Reactions to the report and commentary by stakeholders also have not focused on the shallow groundwater issues, or on the surface pits as likely sources of contaminants.

Of course not, when your agenda is to cast doubt on fracking overall. It's all the fault of fracking, don't ya know, not 40+ year old pits.

42 posted on 05/02/2012 11:51:12 AM PDT by philman_36 (Pride breakfasted with plenty, dined with poverty, and supped with infamy. Benjamin Franklin)
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To: Erik Latranyi
Water might seep upward by capillary action if the stone is just right, although fracking would probably reduce the potential for that. And it still does not explain how water could traverse impermeable rock formations capping the Marcellus, and which themselves would not be fracked at all.

This is a paid for "computer model" devoid of actual data, by a known envirowacko hired gun. It has no meaning.

43 posted on 05/02/2012 12:30:11 PM PDT by hinckley buzzard
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To: Erik Latranyi; SaraJohnson

Methane has seeped into ground water in certain areas of PA as a matter of historical fact. People could light the water from a tap for at least the last 60 years, probably as far back as when the water was first tapped. It has nothing to do with fracking. Don’t tell the idiots that made “Gasland” though. Their minds are already made up.


44 posted on 05/02/2012 3:34:52 PM PDT by jdsteel (Give me freedom, not more government.)
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