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USEPA Studies Hydraulic Fracturing Impacts

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) is studying hydraulic fracturing to better understand the potential impacts of the practice on drinking water and groundwater. Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, stimulates oil wells and aids in the recovery of oil and natural gas from coalbeds and shale gas formations such as the Bakken in western North Dakota and eastern Montana. The USEPA study was undertaken at the direction of the U.S. Congress.

The study's scope includes the full lifespan of water in hydraulic fracturing, from acquisition through the mixing of chemicals and fracking, to the post-fracturing stage. It also includes the management of flowback and produced water, as well as how the water is ultimately treated and disposed. The study's first progress report is planned for late 2012. A final draft report is expected to be released for public comment and peer review in 2014.

Click here to see the USEPA's full explanation of the hyrdraulic fracturing process.




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