Canadian Water No More Affected by Hydraulic Fracturing Than American

natural gas nowTom Shepstone
Shepstone Management Company, Inc.

Canadian water tests have produced the same sort of results as here in the U.S. adding more evidence hydraulic fracturing is safe and not polluting water.

Checking out the New Brunswick Responsible Energy Development site this morning to see what’s new, I learned of still more evidence fracking isn’t impacting water quality and, this time, it’s Canadian water.

The evidence is to be found in this January report prepared by Natural Resources Canada and the Geological Survey of Canada and delivered to Corridor Resources. The company permitted o the drilling of 11 monitoring wells on Corridor wellpads in the McCully gas field for purposes of sampling and analyzing water from these wells on multiple occasions.

Canadian water

Here are the relevant parts of the report (emphasis added):

The sampling is now finished, and the analytical results obtained from the monitoring wells drilled on the pads and from the other wells sampled in the area have allowed us to assess the quality of groundwater, better understand the groundwater circulation in this area, and identify, when present, the origin of hydrocarbons in groundwater. While some data still need to be analyzed, our preliminary interpretation based on the available results of our chemical analyses of the groundwater and rock is that the methane in groundwater in your region originates from shallow depths (likely within the upper 100 m or 300 ft), where it is either naturally produced by microorganisms or slowly released from shallow bedrock pores, which naturally contain hydrocarbons at some locations. The small concentrations of methane locally measured in some wells would thus not be related to hydraulic fracturing or activities associated to natural gas production in this area and its presence is harmless

Some of the parameters analyzed in this project do not pose a known risk to human health, and are therefore not subjected to water quality guidelines. Inversely, for parameters which are known to pose a risk to human health, drinking water quality guidelines, expressed as Maximum Acceptable Concentrations (MACs), have been adopted by the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health – Public Health branch (OCMOH). Finally, other parameters analyzed within this project do not pose a health risk, but above certain concentrations they may cause a degradation of aesthetic properties of water (color, odor, tasteā€¦) or technical nuisance such as stains on clothes, the use of more soap than usual, or formation of mineral deposits (scale) in water heaters and pipes. For these parameters the OCMOH has adopted non-enforceable recommendations in the form of Aesthetic Objectives (AOs). You will find the MACs and AOs in the tables presenting your analytical results…

The results obtained on-site with a multi-parameter probe (Table 2), or from chemical analyses conducted in the laboratory (Tables 3-6), showed that water from the (now decommissioned) observation wells was of generally good quality. Only a few AOs (aesthetic objectives) were exceeded for pH, temperature, iron, manganese, sodium, chloride, sulfate and total dissolved solids. None of the MACs (health-based maximum allowed concentrations) were exceeded.

So, Canadian water has been no more affected by hydraulic fracturing or natural gas development than U.S. waters. All the hollering, all the hyperbole and all the hell-raising have been based on speculation; speculation for which there is simply no good evidence.

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