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Methane contamination of water rises near to shale gas sites, study shows

Homeowners in Pennsylvania and upstate New York warned of methane levels 17x normal within 1km of natural gas wells

Source:  Copyright 2011, Guardian
Date:  May 9, 2011
Byline:  Suzanne Goldenberg
Original URL: Status ONLINE

Methane levels in water supplies close to shale gas extraction sites in Pennsylvania and upstate New York are up to 17 times higher than normal, according to research.

A study on the impact of drilling in the region found that about 85% of drinking water wells within 1km of a natural gas well were contaminated.

The study is the latest to challenge efforts to sell natural gas as a cleaner, safer source of energy, and could build momentum for greater federal governance of the industry.

The US has a headstart in the global market, but companies plan to exploit shale gas sites all over the world – for example there is an experimental drilling site in the UK, near Blackpool. The gas companies argue that shale gas provides a relatively cheap source of energy that is lower carbon then oil and coal. Environmentalists say that the chemicals used in the extraction of the gas can cause significant pollution and that when methane releases are taken into ...

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