Colorado Fracking, Faulty Wells and Water Contamination Back »

Neela Banerjee of Inside Climate News wrote an article on how a study of fracking does not necessary contaminate drinking water wells. Below is a summary of her article; Colorado Fracking Study Blames Faulty Wells for Water Contamination Inside Climate News, July 11, 2016.


The research finding shows that methane contamination of water wells in Colorado is due to faulty oil and gas well construction rather than hydraulic fracturing. The study of aquifer contamination within Colorado was published in the proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

This study builds on several others that have been published in the past few years, examining water from Texas to Pennsylvania. The one thing in common with these studies is they all indicate methane can bleed from oil and gas wells if the metal casting inside the wellbore are not cemented completely or sealed deep enough underground.

In Colorado the area studied was the Denver-Julesberg Basin from 1988 -2014 which has had oil and gas development for decades. Horizontal drilling and high volume fracking started in this Basin in 2010. Water from 593 wells was found to contain methane, 42 of these wells contained gas, the same type of gas being produced in the area.

There are 11 wells that the state had analyzed within this Basin that showed “barrier failures” which means the steel casing and cement failed. These 11 wells were all drilled prior to 1993 and did not undergo high-volume fracking and horizontal drilling.


Reference: Banerjee N. (2016, July, 11) Colorado Fracking Study Blames Faulty Wells for Water Contamination, Inside Climate News, July 11, 2016. Forum News Service.

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