Fracking can increase methane in drinking water, study finds

Scientists have found that methane and other gases pose a significant risk of contaminating drinking-water wells near natural gas drilling, raising new questions about possible health and safety risks from the production technique known as fracking.

A study published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that drinking-water wells in northeastern Pennsylvania within a kilometer of high-volume hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, showed methane concentrations six times greater, on average, than in wells farther away.

The gas occurs naturally in the area’s aquifers, but the study showed the chemical composition of methane in wells near the drilling sites is the same as the natural gas extracted in the area.

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