Fracking has not led to widespread pollution of drinking water, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says in a long-awaited draft study, but warns that certain drilling activities could pose risks.
WASHINGTON, June 4 (Reuters) - Fracking has not led to widespread pollution of drinking water, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said on Thursday in a long-awaited draft study, but warned that certain drilling activities could pose risks.
The study, requested by Congress and five years in the making, found specific instances where water sources were affected by hydraulic fracturing, the injection of large amounts of sand, water and chemicals deep underground to crack open rock formations holding natural gas and oil.
The EPA also found risks to drinking water in formations where fracking occurred and where water supplies were scarce.
But overall, the EPA saw little impact to water supplies from the thousands of fracking wells across the country.
The draft study will give state regulators, local communities and companies "a critical resource to identify how best to protect public health and their drinking water resources," said EPA science adviser Thomas Burke.
Other vulnerabilities to water supplies from fracking-related activities can result from inadequately cased or cemented wells that leak gases and liquids underground when inadequately treated wastewater is discharged into the resource, the study said.
The study contained a compilation of more than 900 references and citations, as well as agency-conducted research that has undergone "extensive peer review," Burke told reporters.
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