On at least 32 occasions, on its website and in other materials, Food & Water Watch claims fracking has resulted in “toxic” and “poisoned” groundwater sources in the United States. Other groups like Earthworks, the Center for Biological Diversity, and Citizens for Responsible Oil and Gas (CFROG) have been just as aggressive and persistent in making similar claims.
- “Fracking makes our drinking water toxic … Fracking companies make exorbitant profits at the expense of local communities, which may be left without safe water.” – Food & Water Watch, “Ban Fracking Everywhere”
- “It is unconscionable that EPA is allowing [toxic fracking fluids] to be injected directly into underground sources of drinking water.” – Earthworks, “Fracking 101”
- “Fracking pollutes enormous amounts of water in California.” – Center for Biological Diversity, “Fracking in California”
- “Oil and gas exploration and production activities have contaminated groundwater aquifers within Ventura County.” – CFROG, October 2016 report to Ventura County Board of Supervisors
However, DRILLING DOWN, the facts show:
- A landmark study in 2004 by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) concluded there was “little to no threat” of fracturing contaminating underground sources of drinking water.
- That study was subsequently validated in 2015 by a follow-up, 5-year study which found, “hydraulic fracturing activities have not led to widespread, systematic impacts to drinking water resources.” The Obama-era EPA called this effort “the most complete compilation of scientific data to date, including over 950 sources of information, published papers, numerous technical reports, information from stakeholders and peer-reviewed EPA scientific reports.”
- In addition, more than two dozen other scientific, peer-reviewed studies and expert assessments have concluded that hydraulic fracturing is not a threat to groundwater. These studies have been conducted, funded, and published by organizations across the United States such as Stanford University, the United States Geological Survey (USGS), the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), Yale University, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Groundwater Association, and the University of Michigan.
- Most recently, in August 2018, a study of groundwater quality in Ventura County, California, found that “there is no evidence to support claims that oil and gas production activities have impacted any drinking water supplies or water resources.” The study – conducted by Thomas Johnson Associates, Substrata LLC, and CW Consulting, three firms specializing in water and environmental issues – validates the results of a 2011 USGS and State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) analysis which also found that oil and gas drilling and production were not a source of groundwater contamination in Ventura County.