The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's landmark study into the effects of hydraulic fracturing drilling technology on water supply is examining the issue from five different angles.
The study, which may prove pivotal in the government's regulation of the 'fracking' technology that has unlocked generations' worth of U.S. oil and gas supplies, won't be released for public comment and peer review until 2014, but its framework was released in detail on Friday.
For the full report: r.reuters.com/jec84t
These are the five stages of the hydraulic fracturing water cycle being examined:
Water Use in Hydraulic Potential Drinking Water Issues Fracturing Operations Water Acquisition Water AvailabilityImpact of water withdrawal on water quality Chemical Mixing Release to surface and ground water(e.g. onsite spills and/or leaks)Chemical transportation accidents Well Injection Accidental release to ground or surface water (e.g., well malfunctions)Fracturing fluid migration into drinking water aquifersFormation fluid displacement into aquifers Mobilization of subsurface formation materials into aquifers Flowback and Produced Water Release to surface and ground water Leakage from onsite storage into drinking water resources Improper pit construction, maintenance, and/or closure Wastewater Treatment and Waste Disposal Surface and/or subsurface discharge into surface and ground water Incomplete treatment of wastewater and solid residuals Wastewater transportation accidents
(Reporting by Jonathan Leff)