Views of the News: Fracking sends Toxic Levels of Benzene into Aquifers

Posted in: Fracking, Ground Water News, United States Water News, Water Contamination
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Article courtesy of Howard Hurlbut | February 26, 2015 | Redland Daily Facts | Shared as educational material

Tests from hundreds of wells in California have found that waste water from oil fracking has polluted aquifers at up to 700 times the federal standard for benzene.

The analysis by the Center for Biological Diversity revealed that 98 percent of waste water samples taken from 329 fracking oil wells exceeded federal and state water quality standards for benzene, a carcinogen causing cancer.

California oil companies have been disposing of waste water from drilling by inserting it into more than 170 aquifers containing water that was classified as being clean.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that an additional 270 fracking waste disposal wells have been drilled by oil companies into aquifers containing water that was previously suitable for drinking if treated.

The extent of the pollution is presumed to be even greater than this because many oil companies have failed to comply with reporting requirements regarding their drilling.

Dr. Timothy Krantz, professor of environmental studies at the University of Redlands, said that when he first saw the levels of benzene in the test results, he thought there had been an error in the report.

According to an article by Julie Cart, Dr. Krantz said, “They are just phenomenal numbers.”

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