FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
US Map of Suspected Well Water Impacts
Contacts: Brook Lenker, Executive Director, FracTracker Alliance, (717) 303-0403; and
Samantha Malone, Manager of Science and Communications, FracTracker Alliance, (412) 802-0273
May 1, 2013 – The US Map of Suspected Well Water Impacts is a project that will attempt to piece together recent complaints of well water quality impacts that people believe are attributed to unconventional gas and oil operations. Research has demonstrated potential risks to ground and drinking water posed by faulty well casings, surface spills, and hydraulic fracturing. From across the country, in areas where gas and oil development is occurring, accounts of possible well water contamination have been reported but not been collected all in one place – yet. The FracTracker Alliance and cooperating organizations are providing that opportunity.
Inspired by other “crowd-sourced” data and mapping projects, this project aims to collect ongoing stories, narratives, and data from individual homeowners living on well water near drilling operations and map the general location of these reports online. The first version of the dynamic map (shown below) is available at www.fractracker.org/usmap.
Once received, submissions will be reviewed to the extent possible by cooperating researchers and organizations. Not all reported cases of water contamination, however, have been or will be able to be substantiated. According to Brook Lenker, Executive Director of FracTracker Alliance:
The reports we are collecting are not necessarily indisputable evidence that drilling has contaminated drinking water sources. Some accounts are irrefutable. Others remain unsubstantiated, but that doesn’t mean the well owner isn’t experiencing serious problems. Even where proof may be elusive, perception of risk can tell us much about an issue and the level of concern by the community. This information will likely help to identify pre-existing problems or conditions that were not previously well known. Such outreach is needed to permit citizens, local agencies, and others to work together to address pre-existing concerns, improve local regulations or standards, conduct proper baseline testing and monitoring, and make informed decisions.
As unconventional natural gas and oil extraction expands internationally, an Internet-based project like the US Map of Suspected Well Water Impacts can help to share on a global scale how people in the U.S. view – and may be impacted by – unconventional drilling. If everyone contributed their stories, the public’s understanding of gas and oil extraction’s impacts on well water could expand dramatically.
Anyone wishing to submit their story should visit www.fractracker.org/usmap or call (202) 639-6426. A complete list of current project partners is available on the website.
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