Alarming find | Denton Record Chronicle | News for Denton County, Texas

University of Texas at Arlington researchers have unveiled a study that found potentially unhealthy levels of arsenic in water wells scattered throughout North Texas.The study, conducted last year, involved 100 water wells across the Barnett Shale, 10 of them in Denton County. An 11-member team of UTA scientists found that 30 percent of wells within 1.8 miles of active natural gas drilling showed an increase in heavy metals, including arsenic.“To find that high of arsenic concentrations was alarming,” said Dr. Zacariah Hildenbrand, a UTA biochemist. “This is indirect evidence that drilling does affect the water.”Researchers compared their results with previous water tests conducted in the same area before the Barnett Shale gas boom exploded across the region 10 years ago. They believe the vibration from drilling or hydraulic fracturing operations shakes the pipes in nearby wells, causing arsenic-contaminated rust to fall into fresh water. The scientists referred to those vibrations as “pressure waves from drilling activity.”

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