Scientists have developed a test to check for contamination of shallow groundwater from fracking and other unconventional gas extraction techniques, according to an article from EurekaAlert. The method, developed by researchers from the Universities of Edinburgh and Glasgow and the Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre, could help assess the safety of these practices. Shale gas and coal bed methane extraction are controversial due to the perceived risks of water contamination.
The test offers a new way to fingerprint methane gas by identifying traces of inactive natural gases, and can be used to determine the origin of methane at exploration sites. The fingerprint test indicates whether methane levels in groundwater have changed following exploration activity and if the change can be traced back to the exploration so that appropriate action can be taken. According to the article, the researchers recorded unique fingerprints in a number of exploratory shale gas and coal bed methane wells around the UK.
Read the entire article here.