WASHINGTON (AP) — The Environmental Protection Agency says hydraulic fracturing activities have not led to widespread harm to drinking water in the United States. But the agency also says the controversial drilling technique could affect drinking water if safeguards aren't maintained.
A draft assessment Thursday finds specific instances where poorly constructed drilling wells and improper wastewater management affected drinking water resources. But it also reports the number of cases was small compared to the large number of wells that use hydraulic fracturing, better known as fracking.
The assessment tracked water used throughout the fracking process, from acquiring water to mixing chemicals at the well site and injecting them into wells, to collection of wastewater, wastewater treatment and disposal.
The report identified several vulnerabilities to drinking water resources, including fracking's effect on drought-stricken areas.