'...researchers are testing whether hydraulic fracturing fluids can travel thousands of feet via geologic faults into drinking water aquifers close to the surface, a US Department of Energy official said Friday.
A fault from the Marcellus Shale formation, which is thousands of feet below the surface, could provide "a quick pathway for fracking fluids to migrate upwards," said Richard Hammack, a spokesman for the US Department of Energy's National Energy Technology Laboratory.
The experiment is being carried out at a site in Greene County in southwestern Pennsylvania where conventional shallow wells were drilled and long since capped, NETL said on its website. Drillers are now actively drilling in the county in the Marcellus Shale formation.
The study will provide regulators, landowners and the general public "an unbiased, science-based source of information which can guide decisions about shale gas development," NETL said.
The study also will help the industry "develop better methods to monitor for undesired environmental changes" and develop technology or management practices to address the changes, NETL said.