Comment: Study full of holes

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Study full of holes

The two simplest explanations for the higher dissolved gas
concentrations that we observed in drinking water are (i) faulty or inadequate steel casings, which are designed to keep the gas and
any water inside the well from leaking into the environment, and (ii) imperfections in the cement sealing of the annulus or gaps between casings and rock that keepfluids from moving up the outside of the well (4, 40–42)

...we propose that a subset of homeowners has drinking water contaminated by drilling operations, likely through poor well construction.

Two things.
The causes of the methane seepage are not related to the actual act of fracking or wire-line perforation, the study chose to only test near wells that had performed it. They even admitted the two plausible causes are imperfect cementing jobs and leaking borehole casings. The actual process of fracking occurs thousands of feet below the aquifer levels which are protected by impermeable shale and siltstone formations. They only seem to reference fracking indirectly but try to support their claim by including both oil and gas wells in the Results/Discussion.

Second, this study lacks one serious factor, time. Zero mention if those houses had seen methane and ethane in their water before drilling. They even admit this themselves:

More extensive predrilling data would also be helpful...Another research need is a set of detailed case studies of water-quality measurements taken before, during, and after drilling and hydraulic fracturing. Such studies are underway,including partnerships of EPA- and Department of Energy-based scientists and industry in Pennsylvania, Texas, and North Dakota. In addition to predrilling data, disclosure of data from mud-log gases and wells to regulatory agencies and ideally, publicly would build knowledge and public confidence.

As well as distinguishing gas from Marcellus and Devonian formations which they did not do, so they have no standing if the gas was from shallow formations near the aquifer or originated from deeper accessed wells. More information is needed, indeed.

The whole study comes across as hyperbole and a grad student's thesis idea after watching Gasland, because they did exactly this, left out time data and did not distinguish between the act of fracking or the presence of either type of tight gas formations or porous hydrocarbon producing formations. Because, why didn't these people come forward 20 and 30 years ago when much older wells had been established? Their study said the most plausible cause of gas leakage into the water wells was poor cementing jobs, which every single well is cemented or sealed in some manner. Even then, they do not distinguish between older sealed wells or newer ones.

Southern Agrarian