Researchers: Elevated levels of heavy metals found near natural gas extraction sites
Researchers at the University of Texas at Arlington say there are elevated levels of arsenic and other heavy metals close to natural gas extraction sites in the Barnett Shale area of North Texas.
A news release from the school Friday says several scenarios - including disturbances from extracting natural gas, lower water tables, or industrial accidents such as faulty gas well casings - could release the dangerous compounds into shallow groundwater.
Arsenic, barium, strontium and selenium occur naturally at low levels in groundwater. But the release says fracking activities could elevate their levels.
The results from the peer-reviewed study were published online by the journal Environmental Science & Technology.
Elevated levels for most of the metals were not found outside active drilling areas or outside the shale.
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