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You’ve probably heard the term “fracking” before, especially of late. As a bit of background, fracking is a common term for hydraulic fracturing, which is a well-stimulation technique in which rock is fractured by a hydraulically pressurized liquid. This process creates cracks in the deep-rock formations through which natural gas, petroleum and brine will flow more freely.

Opinions vary when it comes to fracking and the safety of its process. Recently, the shale-gas boom has contaminated drinking water wells in the Barnett Shale of North Texas and in the Marcellus Shale of Pennsylvania. Initial thoughts were that fracking had somehow caused the contamination, so an investigation ensued.

Experts concluded that the water contamination stemmed from gas leakage through defective casings and cementing in gas wells, not directly from drilling or fracking. Though still an unfortunate situation, those involved in the oil and gas business can now work to find better ways to protect groundwater supply through improvements in well construction. Though fracking is still a controversial topic, it cannot be blamed for the recent groundwater issues in these areas.