The good folks at Geology.com have pointed out a very interesting and alarming article on hazardous chemicals that may be used in the Hydrofrac process of natural gas extraction and their impact on groundwater. The article in Scientific American points out that a 2004 EPA study concluded that there were no hazards to groundwater associated with the hydrofrac process, and the oil and gas industries have pointed to that study when repeating their mantra that there is no proof of environmental problems with hydraulic fracturing to extract natural gas.
The focus of the article is that there is no accountability by the gas drilling companies, and they are not disclosing the composition of the fluid used in the hydraulic fracturing process, which is thought to contain chemicals that are harmfull in sufficient quantities if they make it into the groundwater. And according to the article at least, there have been a number of suspiious incidences of groundwater contamination in the area of gas wells, including high concentrations of benzene, a component of diesel fuel which is thought to be one component of the hydraulic fracturing fluid. (Illustration from “Our Petroleum Challenge” – Center for Energy)