Water Policy Program News

Fracking Fluid is Leaking More Often than We Thought

Hydraulic fractured oil and gas wells spill pretty often, according to a recent study in the journal Environmental Science & Technology, led by the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions. That study, along with a companion paper which appeared in the journal Science of the Total Environment, analyzed spill data and behavior across four states—Colorado, New Mexico, North Dakota and Pennsylvania—with the goal of identifying common causes of spills to help industries improve, reports Popular Science.

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States' Data on Fracking Well Spills Inadequate for Comprehensive Study, Researchers Say

The nation's regulation of oil and gas development is a mish-mash of disjointed state oversight that makes it difficult to quantify the environmental impacts of drilling, reports Inside Climate News. A new study highlights just how inconsistent spill reporting is, showing that the range in requirements makes it impossible to compare states or come up with a comprehensive national picture. The research, published Tuesday in the journal Environmental Science and Technology, pulled together some of the disparate data and found there have been about 5 spills each year for every 100 wells that have been hydraulically fractured. Of the states examined, North Dakota had the highest rate of spills while Colorado companies reported just 11 spills per 1,000 wells annually.

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Fracking Studies Reveal Need for Standard Reporting Requirements on Spills

Two papers on unconventional oil and gas development highlight the need for states to develop standardized data collection and reporting requirements for spills to better identify and manage risks for nature and people, reports the Nature Conservancy's Cool Green Science blog. “State spill data holds great promise for risk identification and mitigation. However, reporting requirements differ across states, requiring considerable effort to make the data usable for analysis,” said Lauren Patterson, policy associate at Duke University’s Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions and the study’s lead author. “Given the rapid recent development of unconventional oil and gas development, data are scarce on both how often spills happen, what causes them, what materials are spilled, and what the long-term environmental effects are. There is a need to better quantify risk to people and nature.”

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Study Identifies Spill Risk of Hydraulically Fractured Wells

New analysis in the journal Environmental Science & Technology finds that 2 to 16 percent of hydraulically fractured oil and gas wells across Colorado, New Mexico, North Dakota and Pennsylvania spill hydrocarbons, chemical-laden water, hydraulic fracturing fluids and other substances each year. It examines state-level spill data to characterize spills associated with unconventional oil and gas development at 31,481 wells hydraulically fractured or "fracked" in the four states between 2005 and 2014, identifying 6,648 spills in the 10-year period. Authors conclude that making state spill data more uniform and accessible could provide stakeholders with important information on where to target efforts for locating and preventing future spills. However, reporting requirements differ across states, requiring considerable effort to make the data usable for analysis.

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Study Finds 6,600 Spills from Fracking in just Four States

Each year, 2 to 16 percent of hydraulically fractured oil and gas wells spill hydrocarbons, chemical-laden water, hydraulic fracturing fluids and other substances, according to a new study.The analysis, which appears Feb. 21 in Environmental Science & Technology, identified 6,648 spills reported across Colorado, New Mexico, North Dakota and Pennsylvania during a 10-year period. "This study provides important insights into the frequency, volume, and cause of spills," said Lauren Patterson, policy associate at Duke University's Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions and the study's lead author.

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Thousands of Spills at US Oil and Gas Fracking Sites

Up to 16% of hydraulically fractured oil and gas wells spill liquids every year, according to new research from U.S. scientists BBC News reports. The Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions led study published in Environmental Science & Technology, found that there had been 6,600 releases from these fracked wells over a ten-year period in four states.

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Study of Fracking in Four States Uncovers Over 6,600 Spills

A new study investigating spills from hydraulically fractured oil and gas uncovered 6,648 spills in just four states over a ten-year period. Part of the SNAP Partnership, the study examined data from Colorado, New Mexico, North Dakota, and Pennsylvania. Significant differences in reporting requirements across states made this analysis difficult, according to a report by ResearchGate.

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Study Finds 6,600 Fracking Spills in Four States Over 10 Years

In a new study, researchers tallied spills at hydraulic fracturing sites between 2005 and 2014 in Colorado, New Mexico, North Dakota and Pennsylvania, reports UPI. Researchers surveyed state records of incidents at 31,481 fracking wells. According to their work, the decade yielded 6,648 spills in just four states. "State spill data holds great promise for risk identification and mitigation," Lauren Patterson, policy researcher at Duke University's Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, explained in a news release. "However, reporting requirements differ across states, requiring considerable effort to make the data usable for analysis."

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Four States, 10 Years and 6,648 Spills from Fracking

A recent study by Duke University’s Nicholas Institute for Environmental Public Solutions analyzed the spill data; the Science for Nature and People Partnership mapped the incidents, the materials spilled and if it affected the water, reports Progressive Pulse. But according to Duke University researcher Lauren Patterson, inconsistencies in state reporting requirements make it difficult to pinpoint the number of spills and amount of gallons involved. For example, North Dakota requires spills of 42 gallons or more to be reported, the study found. That could explain why that state had the greatest number of spills. Meanwhile, the reporting threshold was higher in Colorado and New Mexico: 210 gallons.

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$500,000 USDA Grant Funds Study on Impacts of Using Oilfield Wastewater for Irrigation

Duke faculty have received a $500,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture to lead a multi-year project evaluating the potential human health impacts and sustainability of using produced water from oilfields to irrigate crops. The research will focus on the use of the wastewater on agricultural lands in California’s Central Valley.

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