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EPA's Study of Hydraulic Fracturing and Its Potential Impact on Drinking Water Resources

Development of Rapid Radiochemical Method for Gross Alpha and Gross Beta Activity Concentration in Flowback and Produced Waters from Hydraulic Fracturing Operations

Schumacher et al. EPA Report. July 2014.


The EPA has developed a method to screen water samples from hydraulic fracturing operations for the presence of radioactivity. During the flowback and produced waters stage, a combination of fluids flow back up the well. Flowback and produced waters may contain elevated concentrations of naturally-occurring radioactive elements, which make the waters radioactive. The new methods will allow for more accurate assessments of radioactivity in water samples. This work was done as part of EPA’s study of the potential impact of hydraulic fracturing for oil and gas on drinking water resources. 

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