UTA Research Finds Dangerous Bacteria in Groundwater Near Texas Gas Drilling Sites

Stories about unexplained illnesses have accompanied the nation’s gas drilling boom for years.Residents living near gas drilling sites have reported skin rashes and gastrointestinal distress. Industry critics often blame hydraulic fracturing chemicals, even when the water had only minor “abnormalities.”Now, researchers from the University of Texas at Arlington have found what could be a different culprit: bacteria."People were complaining of skin rashes and trouble breathing," said Dr. Kevin Schug, an analytical chemistry professor at UTA. "That made us think there might be something else at play here."Two studies recently published in the peer-reviewed journal Science of the Total Environment discovered increased levels of bacteria — particularly dangerous ones that are difficult to kill — in contaminated water near gas drilling sites.Schug, one of the authors and director of UTA’s Collaborative Laboratories for Environmental Analysis and Remediation, or CLEAR, said the research doesn’t conclusively connect fracking with the contaminated water. Naturally occurring natural gas, agriculture waste or some combination could be the contamination sources.  Continue reading...

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