As the practice of hydraulic fracturing has become more prevalent, so have concerns about the safety of the practice as it applies to water wells and water well drilling. This method of drilling is used to extract natural gas and oil that lies several miles under the surface of the earth. Through hydraulic fracturing, oil production and natural gas output have both seen exceptional increases. Unfortunately, the practice hasn’t been embraced to its full potential due to a number of claims surrounding it.
One such claim is that hydraulic fracturing pollutes fresh water sources. There have been videos and articles circulated that promote the idea that once natural gas and/or oil is accessed, it seeps up through the ground and permeates aquifers and water wells. But since 2010, the number of peer-reviewed studies and assessments that disprove this theory has risen to more than two dozen.
In 2016, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released its own study of hydraulic fracturing. This study, conducted over six years and including 110,000 hydraulically fractured wells across the country, concluded that there was not a significant threat to groundwater sources and drinking water. One of the conclusions in the report concludes, in part, “…hydraulic fracturing operations are unlikely to generate sufficient pressure to drive fluids into shallow drinking water zones.”
What exactly does this mean? Fissures thousands of feet below the water table are subjected to high-pressure fluid solutions that form small fractures in the rock. Then, to keep the fractures from closing, sand or another proppant is injected. The hydraulic pressure used to crack the rock is not powerful enough to force fluid up through several rock formations.
The U.S. EPA’s study has concluded that water well drilling and the safety of groundwater sources is not compromised by hydraulic fracturing practices. Consumers and drilling professionals, alike, can rest easy knowing that drilling water wells near hydraulic fracturing operations doesn’t pose any considerable risk.
If you have questions or need additional information about SIMCO drilling equipment and how it can benefit your drilling operation, please contact our sales and support team through our contact page or call 1-800-338-9925.