USGS Finds Unconventional Oil and Gas Production Not Currently Affecting Drinking Water Quality in Arkansas, Louisiana, and Texas

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A new study by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) shows that unconventional oil and gas production in some areas of Arkansas, Louisiana, and Texas is not currently a significant source of methane or benzene to drinking water wells. These production areas include the Eagle Ford, Fayetteville, and Haynesville shale formations, which are some of the largest sources of natural gas in the country and have trillions of cubic feet of gas.

This is the first study in these areas to systematically determine the presence of benzene and methane in drinking water wells near unconventional oil and gas production areas in relation to the age of the groundwater.  Age-dating indicates groundwater in wells is often several thousand years old suggesting decades or longer may be needed to fully assess the effects of unconventional oil and gas production on the quality of groundwater used for drinking water.  For more information, see the USGS Technical Announcement.