The Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality (WDEQ) released an update to its 2016 80,000-page report on hydraulic fracturing and other natural-gas drilling near Pavillion, Wyo. The WDEQ determined drilling was not contaminating well water in the town. Any contaminants found in those wells were probably occurring naturally. However, further testing was recommended.
The “Final Pavillion, Wyoming Gas Field Domestic Water Wells Report on Recommendations for Further Investigation” confirms the conclusions of the earlier report, but also notes the “investigation into palatability issues [around Pavillion] is complete and no additional investigations are warranted at this time.”
The two reports tested more than 14,650 water samples. They determined that methane gas “in the upper Wind River Formation appears to have originated mainly from upward migration from deeper commercial gas-bearing zones and evidence suggests that upward gas seepage (or gas charging of shallow sands) was happening naturally before gas well development.” The WDEQ also determined “inorganic compounds that were found over applicable drinking water standards are generally associated with naturally occurring salts, metals and radionuclides,” and that “evidence does not indicate that hydraulic fracturing fluids have risen to shallow depths utilized by water-supply wells. Also, based on an evaluation of hydraulic fracturing history, and methods used in the Pavillion Gas Field, it is unlikely that hydraulic fracturing has caused any impacts to the water-supply wells.”