Stony Brook University researchers asserted massive hydraulic fracturing in the Marcellus shale poses "substantial potential risk" to waterways, but a drilling industry spokesman asserted the claims are based on faulty data.
"Even in a best case scenario, an individual well would potentially release at least 200 cubic meters of contaminated fluids," researchers Daniel Rozell and Sheldon Reaven said.
Regulators should consider additional mandatory steps to reduce the potential of drinking water contamination from salts and naturally occurring radioactive materials, such as uranium, radium and radon from the rapidly expanding fracking industry, the researchers said.
Many treatment facilities "are not designed to handle hydraulic fracturing wastewater," the researchers said.
Rozell and Reaven estimated that 40,000 wells would be drilled if only 10% of the Marcellus shale region is developed.
Under their best-case median risk calculation, they said the volume of contaminated wastewater from these wells "would equate to several hours flow of the Hudson River or a few thousand Olympic-sized swimming pools."
The researchers' assertions were made in a paper entitled "Water Pollution Risk Associated with Natural Gas Extraction from the Marcellus Shale" and published by the Society for Risk Analysis' in its August 2012 journal.
Chris Tucker, a spokesman for Energy In Depth, an industry advocacy group, said, "This is just another case here of 'garbage in, garbage out'. To be clear: these guys found no cases of actual contamination, or actual pollution, or actual migration. So in absence of that, they just modeled a bunch of hypotheticals based on scenarios that don't, haven't and will never exist."
You can access the full report by clicking here.
Chesapeake Energy Corp,the Oklahoma-based firm is the No. 1 driller in Ohio.
Rig Count Interactive Map by Baker Hughes, an energy services company.
Shale Sheet Fracking, a Youngstown Vindicator blog.
The Ohio Environmental Council, a statewide eco-group based in Columbus.
Earthjustice, a national eco-group.
People's Oil and Gas Collaborative-Ohio, a grass-roots group in Northeast Ohio.
Concerned Citizens of Medina County, a grass-roots group.
No Frack Ohio, a Columbus-based grass-roots group.
Fracking: Gas Drilling's Environmental Threat by ProPublica, an online journalism site.
Pipeline, blog from Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Marcellus shale drilling.
Allegheny Front, environmental public radio for Western Pennsylvania.