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  • bluecheese4u bluecheese4u Aug 28, 2013 7:26 PM Flag

    Study documents fish kill from hydraulic fracturing fluid

    Study documents fish kill from hydraulic fracturing fluid

    August 28, 2013 at 3:14 pm by Jennifer A. Dlouhy

    Hydraulic fracturing fluids from nearby natural gas wells probably harmed endangered fish in a Kentucky creek, according to two federal agencies.

    In a joint study, the U.S. Geological Survey and the Fish and Wildlife Service said fracturing fluid — a mixture of water, sand and chemicals that is pumped underground to unlock oil and gas — caused the threatened Blackside dace minnow and other fish to die off when it was spilled in a small Appalachian creek in 2007.

    London, Ky.-based Nami Resources Co. pleaded guilty to violating federal endangered species and clean water laws in 2009 in connection with the incident, when subcontractors working at four of the company’s wells failed to properly dispose of fracturing fluids used at the sites. According to the Fish and Wildlife Service, the fluids discharged into the upper reaches of Acorn Fork, a small Appalachian creek, contaminating it with hydrochloric acid and other chemicals.

    The fish developed gill lesions and suffered liver and spleen damage consistent with exposure to acidic water and toxic concentrations of heavy metals, according to water and fish samples collected immediately after the incident and analyzed by the two Interior Department agencies.

    Read more: Oil companies and environmentalists seek changes to feds’ fracturing rule

    Survey scientist Diana Papoulias, the lead author of the study, said the episode “is a precautionary tale of how entire populations could be put at risk even with small-scale fluid spills.”

    The study is published in a special edition of Southeastern Naturalist.

    According to the report, water in Acorn Fork became more acidic, with the pH level dropping from 7.5 to 5.6, after the fracturing fluids entered the creek. Water samples also showed higher levels of iron, aluminum and other dissolved elements.

    The research comes amid a growing nationwide debate over the use of hy

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