EPA report on impact of fracking on groundwater raises concerns

Billions in economic gains credited to fracking in South Texas

Author: Brian Mylar, Reporter, bmylar@ksat.com
Published On: Dec 10 2012 06:25:57 PM CST   Updated On: Dec 10 2012 06:29:34 PM CST
Fracking
PLEASANTON, Texas -

A federal agency’s report that drinking water was contaminated by hydraulic fracturing operations in Wyoming has people living over the Eagle Ford Shale wondering about their water.

A report by the Environmental Protection Agency showed water wells were polluted in the town of Pavillion, Wy., and that the pollution was linked to chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.

In South Texas, fracking has brought traffic, jobs and billions of dollars of economic impact by helping to release valuable oil and gas from rock formations.

One aspect of the EPA report that is comforting to South Texas residents like Cindy Mercer is that it was noted that the Wyoming results were specific to that community.

Mercer is a Certified Professional Land Man, who was at Sely's Mexican Restaurant in Pleasanton on Monday. Pleasanton is in the midst of the Eagle Ford Shale boom.

At Sely’s, few people were worried about the EPA report.

Mercer said precautions are taken to protect water during fracking.

"They have to set surface casing, they have to set all kinds of special plugs and everything as they go through the fresh water strata, so it's not contaminated," Mercer said.

She said fracking occurs thousands of feet deeper than the groundwater.

Melissa Bowen, another diner at Sely’s, trusts scientists to keep fracking safe.

"You don't want the bad to happen and I think with the safety precautions that the EPA does have that it can be protected," Bowen said.

San Antonio does not get its water from the Eagle Ford Shale, but Anne Hayen, spokeswoman for the San Antonio Water System, said SAWS is watching what is happening.

"We're certainly keeping an eye on this,” Hayden said. “At this point, it's not affecting any of our supplies."