New data on the groundwater contamination in Pavillion, WY and the link to fracking

Last December the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a draft report of its investigation of groundwater contamination near Pavillion, WY and concluded that it was likely that groundwater in Pavillion was contaminated by the hydraulic fracturing process itself. The ground water has been contaminated by chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing, and that those chemicals most likely reached groundwater through subsurface pathways. Tom Myers, PhD, an independent scientist (and consultant to NRDC) found that the EPA's investigation is scientifically sound.

Last week the United States Geological Survey (USGS) released its own data from Pavillion. The agency's data are consistent with the earlier findings from EPA, reinforcing our concerns – and the concerns of Americans in communities across the country – that dangerous fracking practices are putting our drinking water and health at risk. Dr. Myers analyzed the USGS data and found that the conclusions based on EPA's original analysis should be more widely accepted now that the information about Pavillion's water quality has been replicated by USGS.

It's critical that EPA continue to thoroughly investigate water contamination concerns related to fracking, as it is in its major drinking water study. And it’s essential that we get strong federal safeguards on the books to protect Americans from the oil and gas companies that have been running roughshod on communities for too long.

About the Authors

Amy Mall

Senior Policy Analyst, Land & Wildlife program

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