New Project Maps Suspected Impacts To Well Water

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A new mapping project by a group of environmental organizations aims to document impacts to well water quality people believe is caused by unconventional gas and oil operations like hydraulic fracturing.

The crowd-sourced map is an initiative of the FracTracker Alliance. The Ohio Environmental Council (OEC) is part of that group.

In a news release the OEC said the project will collect and map ongoing narratives and data from homeowners living on well water near drilling operations.

The submissions will be partly reviewed by cooperating researchers and organizations.

OEC said the overall purpose is to collect and share well water quality stories, not to substantiate reported cases on contamination.

"We are not suggesting that the reports we are collecting are indisputable evidence that drilling has contaminated drinking water sources,"  said Brooke Lenker, executive director of FracTracker Alliance.  "Some accounts are irrefutable.  Others remain unsubstantiated, but that doesn't mean the well owner isn't experiencing serious problems.  Even where proof may be elusive, perception of risk can tell us much about an issue.  This project provides people who wish to tell their well water stories, the freedom to do so in a dynamic, confidential and visual manner."