The North Texas Barnett Shale has been added to an Environmental Protection Agency study. The congressionally mandated report will look into potential affects of hydraulic fracturing on water resources.
In a release today the EPA said it will, "...assess existing sites for possible drinking water contamination and attempt to determine possible pathways for contamination to reach water resources."
Hydraulic fracturing is a process in which large volumes of water, sand and chemicals are injected at high pressure to extract oil and natural gas from underground rock formations. The process creates fractures in formations such as shale rock, allowing natural gas or oil to flow into the well and be recovered.
The Barnett Shale is one of the largest natural gas reserves in the U.S. That has lead to a dramatic increase in natural gas drilling over the last few years, along with an increase in concerns by environmental groups.
The EPA will begin field work in some of the selected regions this summer.