No matter what else may be said about The University of Texas Arlington (UTA) study of gas drilling impacts on water well, I applaud the university for using its own funds to conduct the research.
The UTA study looked at a total of 100 water wells in Texas, with 91 near gas drilling and 9 outside the area where gas drilling was taking place. The researchers also used historic water quality data.
The researchers found worse water quality in the 91 water wells near gas drilling, including 29 that had arsenic levels above the safe level established by the Safe Drinking Water Act. Arsenic can be naturally occurring, but this study suggests that the gas drilling activity is associated with increasing arsenic leaching into waters in this area.
The UTA study is suggestive but not conclusive as to the water wells and geology in that area. As the researchers said, more research should be done.
Finally, customers of water companies or public water systems can rely on daily testing of their water to make sure it is safe to drink. But those who drink water from water wells--whether the well is near gas drilling or not--must test their water at least annually to make sure that it is safe to drink. Indeed, water is not safe to drink from far too many water wells across America and Pennsylvania, as a result of bacteria and other contaminants at levels that can cause illness.