EPA's Study of Hydraulic Fracturing for Oil and Gas and Its Potential Impact on Drinking Water Resources

Photograph of three scenes: hydraulic fracturing drill site, surface water in a stream, and a young girl drinking from a water fountain.

At the request of Congress, EPA is conducting a study to better understand any potential impacts of hydraulic fracturing for oil and gas on drinking water resources. The scope of the research includes the full lifespan of water in hydraulic fracturing. The progress report was released in December 2012 and a draft report is expected to be released for public comment and peer review in 2014.

What is the hydraulic fracturing water cycle?

Illustration of five steps of hydraulic fracturing water cycle: 1 - Water acquisition. 2 - Chemical mixing. 3 - Well injection. 4 - Flowback and produced water (wastewaters). 5 - Wastewater treatment and waste disposal.