Hydraulic fracturing (more commonly referred to as “fracking”) involves the injection of fluid at high pressure into a well, opening or widening fractures in the rock below that free up the flow of natural gas. Domestic natural gas production has been booming as a result, but opponents claim the technique contaminates drinking water, causing serious health effects.
Rigorous studies on fracking have been sparse, and the impassioned debate has raged on. A new investigation by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) at a site in Wyoming is one of the first to look thoroughly at the potential link between fracking operations and groundwater contamination. The agency's report was released yesterday—and it provides a clear link between fracking and water supply problems.