Feb 01, 2012

NGWA Offers Guidance on Hydraulic Fracturing to U.S. Policymakers

Association announces recommendations in latest position paper

The National Ground Water Assn. (NGWA) recently issued a series of principles for policymaking aimed at protecting groundwater in areas of the U.S. experiencing increased oil and gas development using hydraulic fracturing.

“The greater use of horizontal wells and the hydraulic fracturing technology has the potential to significantly expand natural gas and oil supplies, and hold down prices,” NGWA states in a new position paper. “However, concomitant with this enhanced production is the increased possibility for groundwater contamination and other impacts to drinking water supplies if best practices and proper procedures are not used, and if appropriate regulations are not in place.”

NGWA recommends that policies be put in place and enforced, if they are not already, that promote:

• Disclosure of all chemicals used in the oil or gas well hydraulic fracturing process to the appropriate governmental entity;
• Proper construction and regular maintenance of oil or gas production wells to prevent the migration of natural and injected fluids that could endanger current or future drinking water sources;
• Best management practices or appropriate regulations to address surface spills and waste management related to hydraulic fracturing; and
• Development of water supply plans in areas where water is scarce or the potential for water use conflicts exist.

NGWA also said more study of potential impacts to groundwater used for drinking water supplies is warranted given the proliferation of horizontal wells and hydraulic fracturing.

NGWA’s latest position paper on hydraulic fracturing is available to read in PDF format.