Thanks to advances in horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing technologies, the U.S. now has access to immense reserves of natural gas. While the proper development of this resource offers numerous benefits for our country, it has also become clear that as the use of hydrofracking has gone up, so has the concern about its possible health and environmental impacts, particularly on drinking water.
I recently came across the report that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released in December 2012 in response to this concern, Study of the Potential Impacts of Hydraulic Fracturing on Drinking Water Resources. Its purpose is to determine and examine the possible impacts of hydrofracking on our drinking water, and to identify what exactly causes these impacts.
The EPA’s research set out to answer questions that focus on the five stages of the hydrofracking water cycle: water acquisition, chemical mixing, well injection, flowback and produced water, and wastewater treatment and waste disposal. The report describes the progress made as of September 2012 on 18 research projects, and covers research activities such as laboratory studies, toxicity assessments, and case studies.
With drinking water being at the top of the list of precious resources, this is yet another reminder that hydrofracking must be engaged in responsibly, and that it is important for energy companies to be transparent in the management of their data. For that reason, Locus has developed a special functionality within its award-winning SaaS application EIM to help upstream divisions of oil and gas companies better manage and account for their data associated with hydrofracking.