Gas drilling rig on the Barnett Shale in Texas (Credit: David R. Tribble)
A new study by University of Texas researchers surveyed 100 wells atop the Barnett Shale natural gas fields and found that nearly 30 percent of them contained levels of arsenic deemed unsafe by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Think Progress reported.
All 29 of the wells that tested positive for unsafe levels of arsenic and other heavy metals were located within 1.8 miles of hydraulic fracturing operations. While the findings could indicate a connection between groundwater contamination and fracking, lead author Brian Fontenot told ProPublica, “I can’t say we have a smoking gun.”
Barnett Shale is one of the largest gas reserves in the U.S. Along with Eagle Ford shale, another Texas natural gas field, the two reservoirs hold over 90 trillion cubic feet of recoverable gas.
Image: Gas drilling rig on the Barnett Shale in Texas (Credit: David R. Tribble)