PNAS lifts embargo early on paper examining fracking’s effects on drinking water after break
The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) has lifted the embargo early on a study of drinking water near a contentious fracking site. From an email to reporters sent at 10:48 a.m. Eastern today:
Due to an embargo break, PNAS is lifting the embargo early on the following paper. All other articles are under the scheduled embargo:
- Drinking water quality near Marcellus shale gas extraction sites
Some homes located within 1 km of Marcellus gas wells may have drinking water contaminated with stray gases, a study finds. Shale gas accounts for an increasing fraction of the U.S. natural gas supply, but the environmental implications of shale gas extraction—a process that includes horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing—remain uncertain. Expanding their previous study of methane gas contamination in private drinking water wells near active drilling operations in the Marcellus shale region of northeastern Pennsylvania and southeastern New York, Robert Jackson and colleagues analyzed the concentrations and isotopic signatures of methane, ethane, and propane in 141 wells in the area. The authors report that 82% of the wells analyzed contained methane; on average, methane concentrations were 6-times higher for homes located less than 1 km from drilling sites than for homes farther away. Concentrations of ethane and propane were also higher for homes located within 1 km of drilling sites. Furthermore, the authors found that distance to gas wells was the most significant factor to influence drinking water methane and ethane concentrations. In some cases, the chemical signature of the gases in drinking water was characteristic of a Marcellus-like source, according to the authors.
The study was originally embargoed for 3 p.m. Eastern today.
PNAS tells Embargo Watch:
We’re still investigating the origin and circumstances of the break, but we were alerted to a story in Le Monde that was published before the scheduled embargo lift.