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Researchers to Look for Fracking Effects in Montague Co. Water

Researchers from the University of Texas and the University of Texas at Arlington will be testing water in Montague County to see if chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing, or fracking as it's commonly called, make their way into groundwater in Montague County.
Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is causing another boom period in the oil industry, and some say it could make the United States energy sufficient in the future.

It's used to extract previously inaccessible oil and gas from shale formations.

Robert McKee, president of the Montague County Property Owners Association, says, "They will open up the fissures by making holes in the pipe on the horizontal end of it and forcing in under very, very extreme high pressure certain chemicals and components and sand in order to go in and open the shale."

The reason oil companies frack is clear.

"What it has allowed the oil companies to do is come back in the areas, re-drill with horizontal drilling and fracking, and extract more oil," McKee says.

But some worry the practice is harming a valuable resource.

"The concerns are that the chemicals that they use are poisonous and detrimental to the groundwater, but fracking is done so far down that the chances of it getting to the surface are not high," McKee says.

That's why researchers from the University of Texas and the University of Texas at Arlington will be making their way to Montague County.

"They will be sampling the groundwater, which is basically residential water wells on farms and ranches and then they'll be going to disposal pits and taking water from the disposal pits," McKee says.

They'll then take those samples back to their labs for testing.

"Looking for the chemicals that are only used in fracking to see if they have affected the groundwater in the Barnett Shale," McKee says.

Making sure those chemicals don't make their way into the water you could be drinking.

The researchers are expected to start their project later this month.

It should take a total of 90 days to gather the samples.

If they find those chemicals, they also want to troubleshoot and find ways to prevent those chemicals from entering groundwater.

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