University Study Links Poor Natural Gas Well Construction to Groundwater Contamination

EDF Policy Expert Scott Anderson says study reinforces need for strong well integrity rules

September 15, 2014
Lauren Whittenberg, (512) 691-3437,

(AUSTIN, TX– Sept.15, 2014) A study of natural gas wells in Texas and Pennsylvania released today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences concluded that cases of groundwater contamination tend to be caused by poor well construction rather than hydraulic fracturing. Researchers from Duke, Ohio State, Stanford, Dartmouth and the University of Rochester conducted this study.

“The study’s conclusion is yet another reason why more attention must be focused on well integrity issues. While we have not had time to review the study in detail, our understanding of its initial findings demonstrates a greater need for more stringent rules and enforcement that protect communities and their water quality from the risks associated with natural gas development.

“Many states have been updating their well integrity regulations in recent years, but this research is a call for increased action. EDF has and will continue to work with state officials to develop effective regulatory frameworks that will help ensure that wells are constructed and maintained properly – minimizing the number of incidents reported of contaminated groundwater.” 

Scott Anderson, Senior Policy Advisor, US Climate and Energy Program


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